Stefano Domenicali has addressed the issue of racing in the Middle East, saying that avoiding the GCC countries is not the answer.
F1 will race for the first time in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. This news was met with backlash from fans, who pointed out the human rights issues happening in the countries concerned.
Qatar and Saudi Arabia are not the most ideal places when it comes to being morally correct. In fact, Amnesty International slammed the countries for covering up their questionable reputation by sportswashing.
This includes having events of football, WWE and of course F1.
Domenicali addressed the issue of racing the Middle East, and said that unless people give the countries a chance, nothing will improve.
Speaking to the BBC, the F1 CEO said, “Such an important change cannot happen overnight. It is a cultural change that will take time.
“But the timing will be accelerated by the fact big events are there. And Formula 1 will play an important role in that respect.
“If you look pragmatically at what they are doing, in terms of for example women, they have women in prominent positions in the organisation, they are working and respecting the regulations.
“I believe the spotlight we are bringing will be beneficial for the will and the wishes of change that these countries are showing.”
Domenicali also stressed on the fact that while he knows things are not the best in these countries, he thinks doing events there will have a positive effect.
“I don’t believe that shutting countries off and saying we don’t want to be there will help the situation to improve. Actually, it will be the opposite,” he continued.
“It doesn’t mean everything is perfect, but for sure what we are doing and what we are signing off is headed in the right direction.”