“A platform that has the objective of creating fun and unify people” – F1 supremo Stefano Domenicali with a strong and passionate defense for Qatar and Saudi Arabia Grands Prix.
Formula 1 was heavily criticized globally by human rights organisations like Amnesty International, for awarding Saudi Arabia its first-ever Grand Prix later this season, citing their poor human rights record.
In addition to that, Qatar has also been awarded a race, replacing the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka. For those unaware, Qatar, which has previously hosted the Asian Games, is also the host of the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 30, 2021
Is F1 right to award Qatar its first-ever Grand Prix?
Qatar also has been a poor record in the human rights scoreboard, with thousands of deaths reported of labours working for the aforementioned World Cup. Apart from this, there are issues relating to gender inequality, homosexuality, among others.
Amidst all this, F1 President Stefano Domenicali has come into the defence of the Middle-Eastern country. The former Ferrari man acknowledges issues surrounding Qatar, but wants sporting assets like F1 and FIFA to bring about a positive change for the citizens liking in the nation.
“We are talking about sport, we are talking about a platform that has the objective of creating fun and unify people. And I think that this is always the case.
“Sport will help and to enhance the positivity and the right values on each country we are going [to]. Because the spotlight of F1 is so big that you cannot hide.
“Therefore, I think that it’s a sign of making sure that the things that everyone at this level are promising, they will be delivered, because on that we know that we cannot hide anything.
“This is the reason why that we should take that as a great positive push versus a better world. Because Formula 1, in this specific case, will help to make sure this transition versus a better world will happen sooner.
“It’s another great achievement for all of us because we wanted, despite the Covid, despite the difficult situation we’re living in, to show that we are totally committed to make sure that this season – that is absolutely fantastic from the sporting perspective – can really have the right venues and the right quantity of races.
“I have to say that we need to thank Qatar’s promoters because as soon there was a chance to have the possibility to have that slot, they were able to [become] immediately available for discussion. So it’s really terrific. And that’s great because we can really have a 22-race calendar. That is something that is not given for granted. So I’m very excited.”