Formula 1 officially announced on Thursday that Saudi Arabia will also host a grand prize in 2021, and an electric street race will be held in Jeddah.
The Middle Eastern theocratic monarchy is famous for its human rights restrictions and abuses, and in the very unfavorable picture formed as a result, it has (also) tried to improve in recent years by organizing major international sporting events.
Amnesty International has already spoken out on the Saudi race before the official announcement, and now Lewis Hamilton, who is taking on the role of Formula One human rights champion, is now expected to take a stand to that effect.
“It would be incredibly important for Lewis to speak as well. If even the best-known competitor in the sport is willing to stand up and say that this country has a lousy human rights background, it would significantly weaken Saudi Arabia’s charm of improving its image through sport. F1 talks about diversity, inclusion and opening up to LGBT people, meaning they should uphold human rights, ”said Felix Jakens, campaign leader for the advocacy organization.
The big question is whether Hamilton will take action, as the English have never spoken about the competition venues, even though there would be plenty of room to object from the US through Russia, China through China to Bahrain.