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today is Jan 30, 2023

In the round-up: The president of Saudi Arabia’s Automobile and Motorcycle Federation says he is keen to see Formula 1 teams eventually move to the kingdom

In brief

Saudi motorsport chief keen to attract F1 teams to Saudi Arabia

The president of Saudi Arabia’s Automobile and Motorcycle Federation says he is keen to see Formula 1 teams eventually move to the kingdom.

Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Faisal, president of SAMF said the Saudi government was keen to “create a hub” for motorsport in the nation over the coming decades. Asked by Motor Sport if he envisioned an F1 team possibly moving its base to the nation, Prince Khalid said “this is what we are hoping for and this is what we are working for. Hopefully we can bring one of the big manufacturers.

“We have a 20-year programme that hopefully will launch at the end of 2023, early 2024. Our aim is not just to host international events, we want to be involved more. We want to have engineers, we want to have mechanics, we want to build cars, we want to be creative.

“We really want to have a champion, a driver that can compete in the championship for Formula 1, who can compete in MotoGP. We are investing a lot in infrastructures, in building tracks in Saudi Arabia. We want to build academies so we can be more involved – Saudi teams with Saudi drivers or other drivers to race in Saudi teams. It’s still a long way ahead but hopefully by 2030, 2035, 2040 we can achieve our goals.”

Australian GP qualifying moved earlier to avoid glare

Outgoing Australian Grand Prix CEO Andrew Westacott says moving the start time of the qualifying session at the Albert Park circuit to an hour earlier was prompted by a request from the FIA.

Since moving to a ‘twilight’ race time of 5pm in 2009, qualifying for the race in Melbourne has also been held at 5pm on Saturday. However this season, qualifying will instead begin at 4pm. Westacott told the Herald Sun the governing body informed organisers they wanted the session moved earlier.

“The reason is because there has been some glare issues during qualifying,” Westacott explained. “And so feedback via the FIA was that they wanted to make it earlier. We are finalising that at the moment but it’s likely to be earlier just to make sure there is ideal lighting from the sun as opposed to it being too low in the western sky.”

Pre-season IndyCar test set for Thermal Club

An open IndyCar test involving all full-time drivers has been set for Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd of February at the Thermal Club in California.

The resort will host the test around a combination of the venue’s North and South Palm configurations. All drivers set to compete across the IndyCar season are expected to participate across the two-day test. Earlier this week, Robert Shwartzmann was fastest in a private test for four drivers at Sebring.

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