F1 owner Liberty Media has turned a blind eye to the Middle East racing concerns raised by many fans, as reported by GP Blog.
F1 announced the inclusion of the Qatar GP from 2023, which will take the place of one of their cancelled races. The race will also see a potential first Middle East triple header soon, with Qatar joining the Saudi Arabian and Abu Dhabi GP.
The fans’ concerns began when F1 announced that they would race every year at the Losail circuit. That is okay at first glance, until the news dropped that F1 signed a ten-year deal with Qatar to race in the country. This means that for the next decade, we will be having a Qatar GP.
There is obviously a lot of concern and controversy surrounding F1 agreeing to race in a country like Qatar. The human rights background of Qatar, like the rest of the GCC, is shady at best. F1 fans were offended by the sport racing there when they sport the politically-correct slogan #WeRaceAsOne.
Fans voiced their opposition towards the proposal. However, Liberty Media has turned a blind eye to the Middle East racing concerns, saying that they are targeting the region to attract more fans to their product.
Back when F1 announced the Saudi Arabian GP, fans were vocal in their disapproval. However, former CEO Chase Carey had said, “The region is extremely important to us, and 70 percent of Saudi Arabia is under the age of 30. We would like to reach new potential fans.”
Conflict of interest
In 2015, Bernie Ecclestone had revealed his thoughts on a potential Qatar GP, saying that he thought there was a sufficient amount of Middle East races. “I think we have enough races here,” he had said back then.
Liberty Media have cited that they need the financial boost from Qatar’s millions after the COVID-19 pandemic dented their finances. They also stated their desire to expand the F1 calendar as a justification for the move.
What do you think of racing in a region like the Middle East? Let us know in the comments below.