Saudi Arabia to host Formula One night race in 2021

VIDEO SHOWS: SAUDI ARABIA ANNOUNCING IT WILL HOST FORMULA ONE RACE IN JEDDAH NEXT YEAR / FILE OF MOTOR SPORT IN SAUDI ARABIA AND TRADITIONAL SAUDI DANCING

SHOWS:

UNKNOWN (FILE) (HANDOUT - ACCESS ALL)

1. PROMO VIDEO FOR NEW FORMULA ONE RACE IN SAUDI ARABIA

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA (NOVEMBER 5, 2020) (AL EKHBARIYAH - NO USE SAUDI ARABIA)

2. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SAUDI SPORTS MINISTER PRINCE ABDULAZIZ BIN TURKI, SAYING:

"I am happy to officially announce in this moment, with the backing of his highness the Crown Prince may God preserve him, the kingdom's hosting on its west coast here in the city of Jeddah, the bride of the Red Sea, one of the races in Formula One - one of the most important and exciting sporting events globally - and we are happy to welcome the entire world to our beloved kingdom. Welcome to Formula One and welcome to the heroes. Thank you."

LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (NOVEMBER 5, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SPOKESMAN STEPHEN COCKBURN, SAYING:

"Formula One has a corporate responsibility to respect human rights and there's some really big human rights risk in doing this event in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has an appalling human rights record and it is using events like Formula One and also major boxing and football events to try and sportswash its image. The country arrests and detains many many women human rights defenders who have been campaigning on issues of gender equality, including one who's currently on hunger strike in prison there, there's widespread labour exploitation and there's serious issues of discrimination and Formula One has to be really really careful that it's not caught up in that and to make sure its event is free of exploitations, free of discrimination and that it's not used in an effort to sportswash the country."

4. WHITE FLASH

5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SPOKESMAN STEPHEN COCKBURN, SAYING:

"There has to be an acceptance first of all, that Formula One does have human rights responsibilities. It has to make sure that its operation can do its due diligence on human rights risks. So that means checking on who can attend events to make sure it's free of discrimination, looking at the contractors and suppliers to make sure there are protections against labour exploitation and against forced labour, to make sure there's also platforms and freedoms for teams, for drivers, who want to speak out about issues related to the country in which it's hosted. It's quite important as this will be used by Saudi Arabia to try and change its image, so it's really important that there's a space for everyone involved to counter that and to give a different side of the story and to talk about human rights issues in the country."

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA (FILE - FEBRUARY 2, 2018) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

6. VARIOUS OF DRIVERS RACING

7. TWO SAUDI WOMEN TAKING PICTURES OF RACE WITH SMART PHONES

8. MORE OF RACING

9. VARIOUS OF CROWD CHEERING

10. DRIVER PERFORMING ACROBATIC MOVES WITH HIS CAR

11. CHILDREN CHEERING

ABHA, SAUDI ARABIA (FILE - JULY 18, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

12. TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DANCE GROUP PERFORMING IN HISTORIC VILLAGE OF RIJAL ALMAA

13. VARIOUS OF ONGOING PERFORMANCE IN OUTDOOR VILLAGE THEATRE

14. PEOPLE WATCHING PERFORMANCE

15. PERFORMERS DANCING

16. PEOPLE WATCHING ONGOING PERFORMANCE

17. VARIOUS OF PERFORMANCE

STORY: Saudi Arabia will host a Formula One grand prix for the first time next year with a night race on the streets of the country's second city Jeddah, the sport and organisers announced on Thursday (November 5).

The November race -- along Jeddah's corniche facing the Red Sea -- will be the third in the Middle East with Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, subject to confirmation of a 2021 calendar that has yet to be published.

Formula One's current season has been restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic to 17 races in Europe and the Middle East but the sport is hoping for a fuller season in 2021, possibly even a record 23 races.

Saudi Arabia is set to be paired with next year's season-ending round at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina, also held under floodlights.

The Saudi round is expected to move eventually to Qiddiya, a planned entertainment resort about an hour's drive from the capital Riyadh, once a permanent circuit has been built and as part of a long-term deal.

Qiddiya is at the heart of an ambitious strategy to open the economy and ease social restrictions.

Saudi Arabia has become increasingly prominent on the motorsports scene, hosting the Dakar Rally in January while two races of the all-electric Formula E series are scheduled for Diriyah in February.

A new Extreme E off-road electric series is due to race in Al Ula in March while tennis, boxing and golf have held high-profile events in the kingdom.

State-owned energy giant Saudi Aramco is a global partner of Formula One and Saudi companies have sponsored teams.

Human rights campaigners have accused Saudi Arabia of 'sportswashing', using events to create a positive image, however.

Formula One said all partners and host countries committed "to respect human rights in the way their events are hosted and delivered."

(Production: Iain Axon, Mussab Al-Khairalla)