Need to Know: 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Formula 1 will visit Saudi Arabia for the first time in December, with the inaugural race on Jeddah Corniche Circuit. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of attending the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on December 3-5.

Formula 1 is set to race in Saudi Arabia for the first time in 2021. The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was confirmed to be joining the calendar in November 2020 and will host the penultimate race of the already memorable 2021 season. With Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton still vying for the honours in 2021, the on-track drama will continue as F1 rolls into Saudi Arabia for the first time.

The Jeddah Corniche Circuit is designed by Hermann Tilke and is the fastest street circuit which Formula 1 has ever visited. Construction work on the site is due to be completed just before the race weekend.

Do I need a visa to visit Saudi Arabia?

Travellers from 49 countries are able to apply for an e-visa to visit Saudi Arabia. Countries including the UK, USA, Canada and the European Union are included on the list of eligible countries.

Click here to see the full list of eligible countries and apply for an e-visa.

Getting to Jeddah Corniche Circuit

Jeddah Corniche Circuit is located in the impressive Corniche area of Jeddah. It’s around 20km north of the city centre. Jeddah is served by Abdulaziz International Airport, which is less than a half hour drive from the track.

As this is the first running of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, it’s difficult to know exactly how public transport options will be impacted for the race weekend. In addition, public transport routes are not well developed in the city. For that reason, we recommend travelling to the track by taxi, or ride sharing – Uber is a good option in Jeddah, with affordable prices. English is widely spoken in Jeddah, so the language barrier is unlikely to be too much of an issue. You can also ask your hotel for recommended local taxi services.

Coronavirus protocols at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Visitors to Saudi Arabia must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Although there is no quarantine period for visitors from abroad, you will need to supply a negative PCR test result taken no longer than 72 hours before your departure to the country. Additional coronavirus protocols for entering the circuit are yet to be announced.

Tickets still available

Tickets are still available for the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Initially, only 40% of tickets were on sale due to coronavirus restrictions. The event will now be run at 100% capacity.

Tickets in the Southern and Central Grandstands are priced at €490. The Southern Grandstands are located at the final corner of the track, while seats in the Central Grandstands give views of the complex between Turns 4 and 10.

You can also secure 3-Day access for the race weekend with F1 Experiences. As well as exclusive Paddock Club hospitality with views of the pit lane and start-finish line, you will also be able to partake in daily pit lane walks.

Trackside at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

As well as Formula 1, junior series Formula 2 will also be in action over the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend. F2 last raced at the Russian Grand Prix in September and only two rounds remain in their 2021 season. Reigning F3 champion Oscar Piastri currently leads the way in the title battle. Three F2 races will take place, with two Sprint events and a Feature Race.

In addition to the on track action, the weekend’s entertainment will be complemented with performances from global superstars. Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo and David Guetta will all perform on the main stage in the Fanzone area. Additional appearances will be made by DJ Tiësto and ASAP Rocky. More information on concerts over the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend can be found here.

Further racing action will come courtesy of Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East, who will race on both Saturday and Sunday. There will be additional on track demonstrations, as well as fly pasts and other entertainment. The full schedule for the race weekend can be found below.

The race will take place at night, so you will avoid Jeddah’s warm daytime temperatures. We recommend packing warmer clothes for your visit, as temperatures drop to a cooler 20°C in the evening, and it may become breezy as darkness falls.

2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix schedule

Friday (Dec 3)

  • 12:35 – 13:20: Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East, Practice
  • 13:45 – 14:30: Formula 2, Practice
  • 15:20 – 15:50: SAGP Supercar demonstration
  • 16:30 – 17:30: Formula 1, Free Practice 1
  • 17:45 – 18:00: Saudi F1 Demo
  • 18:20 – 18:50: Formula 2, Qualifying
  • 20:00 – 21:00: Formula 1, Free Practice 2
  • 21:45 – 22:30: Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East, Practice

Saturday (Dec 4)

  • 13:50 – 14:20: Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East, Qualifying
  • 15:10 – 15:12: Air display, fly past
  • 15:30 – 16:20: Formula 2, Race 1
  • 17:00 – 18:00: Formula 1, Free Practice 3
  • 18:05 – 18:35: SAGP Supercar demonstration
  • 18:40 – 18:55: Saudi F1 Demo
  • 20:00 – 21:00: Formula 1 Qualifying
  • 21:40 – 22:30: Formula 2, Race 2
  • 23:25 – 23:55: Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East, Race 1

Sunday (Dec 5)

  • 14:00 – 14:30: SAGP Supercar demonstration
  • 14:35 – 14:50: Saudi GP Demo
  • 15:55 – 16:25: Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East, Race 2
  • 17:25 – 18:30: Formula 2, Race 3
  • 20:30 – 22:30: 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Respecting local customs

Saudi Arabia is a conservative country where Islamic laws are observed. Though locals are generally tolerant and will not take offence if rules are not strictly observed, it is a good idea to follow social etiquette during your trip.

In terms of law, the consumption of alcohol is banned and public decency laws must be respected. Both men and women should dress modestly. Men should wear long trousers, not shorts, and long-sleeved shirts. Women should carry a headscarf for occasions where covering of the hair is appropriate.

Be aware that prayers are observed five times per day and shops and restaurants may briefly close during these times.

What to see and do off track in Jeddah

Jeddah is the second largest city in Saudi Arabia and the country’s most popular tourist destination. Here are some ideas for what to see and do during your trip to Jeddah:

  • Explore the Corniche area: As its name suggests, Jeddah Corniche Circuit is located in the Corniche area of the city. The Corniche has a plethora of parks and beaches. Take a walk at sunset and soak up the atmosphere in one of the many cafes on the fringes of the Red Sea. At the south end of the Corniche, you’ll find King Fahd’s Fountain; the largest water fountain anywhere in the world. Also known as the Jeddah Fountain, water reaches 260 metres in the air!
  • Shopping in Jeddah: Whether you’re looking for traditional Saudi Arabian products or a more modern shopping experience, you’ll find both in Jeddah. Prince Fahd Bin Sultan Avenue is the place to be for designer goods, as are the Park and Al Hokair malls. Red Sea Mall is also worth checking out, with amenities for the whole family. You’ll also find some of the city’s best places to eat in the malls. Outside of the city, and a few hours inland, Taif is the place to be for natural produce, from food stuffs to perfumes and oils.
  • Swim in the Red Sea: The welcoming warm water of the Red Sea is perfect for a leisurely swim or even a dive. Take a boat out for the day and soak up the sun out on the open water. With good visibility underwater, you might be able to find one of the shipwrecks which can be found on the seabed in the area.
  • Soak up the ancient city: Visit Al Balad for a taste of traditional life in Jeddah. The ancient crumbling buildings give Jeddah’s old quarter a lot of character – and it’s worth taking a few hours to explore the narrow old streets. Historic Jeddah is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Visit Mecca: Further afield, the religiously important Mecca is around 100km from Jeddah. Over six million Muslims make the pilgrimage to the holy city each year.

Any questions about attending the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix? Leave a comment below!

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