There have been many people – Formula 1 fans and beyond – hitting out at the decision to go ahead with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in just a matter of weeks.
The Jeddah Street Circuit was added to the calendar in 2021 and it immediately brought widespread criticism due to the human rights issues that some believed were being ignored by the sport.
According to reports, last week 81 men were executed in Saudi Arabia – including seven Yemenis and one Syrian – for a list of offences including terrorism and holding “deviant beliefs.”
The terrifying penalty marks one of the biggest mass executions in decades.
Despite this, Formula 1 bosses have opted to keep plans in motion to return for a second outing in March, and while many are voicing their anger over the situation, some are now calling for the race to be replaced.
However, CEO Stefano Domenicali maintains that the sport can have a positive impact and can shine a light on the human rights issues being reported in the media.
“When we hear this kind of news, it’s quite alarming,” Domenicali told Sky Sports.
“But I’m a true believer in the fact that sport has to make sure that human rights is at the centre of our agenda, together with the country where we are going.
“I think if I take a step back, what we saw last year, we saw a lot of women, a lot of young people attending the race and enjoying for the first time that they’ve never had the chance to see live, is the right direction to take.
“The fact that we’re going to be there, gives the intensity of the spotlight around a subject that maybe without us would have a different place in the news.”