On the Road to Sustainability From its conception to final delivery, at the heart of the Formula 1 stc Saudi Arabian Grand Prix project has existed an agenda of sustainability initiatives.

On the Road to Sustainability

From its conception to final delivery, at the heart of the Formula 1 stc Saudi Arabian Grand Prix project has existed an agenda of sustainability initiatives. They have had the dual impact of addressing environmental action in the wake of the climate emergency, while also creating a strategy to establish a more inclusive culture within the local community and wider Kingdom.

Aligned to the Vision 2030 policy — to transform the economy of Saudi Arabia and develop a more inclusive society — the Saudi Motorsport Company has led the way in driving awareness of diversity and inclusion, by building a positive future for under-represented groups. One example is attributed to the fact the percentage of female employees at the organisation is currently at 40 per cent, which is one of the highest of any promoter in Formula 1.

In alliance with its stakeholders and partners, the Saudi Motorsport Company, has also engaged in a number of environmental projects across the inaugural Formula 1 stc Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, to create a positive impact on the city of Jeddah. For example, the regeneration of the Corniche has enhanced the biodiversity and natural assets of the Red Sea coastline and delivered a lasting legacy to the local community.

As the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia prepares for its second FIA Formula 1 World Championship event on the weekend of March 25th – 27th, the Saudi Motorsport Company is taking further positive steps to extend sustainability beyond mere compliance and to actively deliver solutions to the environmental crisis. By incorporating the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, the company has introduced a strategy built upon seven pillars: earthworks and materials, efficient facilities, accessibility, transportation, waste, and community involvement.

In combination with Formula 1’s WeRaceAsOne programme, here is an overview of the holistic steps the Saudi Motorsport Company has taken in its green operations so far, with the parallel priorities of minimising the negative effects of climate action, while maximising positive social impact.

  1. Development of the Corniche

Positioned at the heart of Jeddah’s magnificent waterfront, the Jeddah Corniche Circuit was designed and built to serve the city of Jeddah well beyond the Formula 1 race weekend. Indeed, it is a central element of the city’s grand Corniche renovation project.

The circuit’s infrastructure and design has been built to develop an environmentally friendly space for the city that will add lasting value for the general public. The development along the banks of the Red Sea, is extending the popular Corniche walkway towards the new Marina and is populated with a series of outdoor recreational opportunities for children and adults including new walkways and cycling paths, children’s playgrounds, leisure and sporting facilities and the establishment of family-friendly restaurants to serve locals and attract tourists.

In all elements of this regeneration project, the primary goal is to preserve and enhance the surrounding soil conditions and local environment to ensure that via the use of sustainable earthworks and landscaping methods, a flourishing and biodiverse vegetation is sustained alongside the extensive redevelopment in the area.

As per the Saudi Green Initiative, the new circuit features over 43,000 square metres of green space and over 2,000 native and adaptive trees were planned prior to the race. The site also features a sustainable design that minimises irrigation demand and by reducing the heat island effect, can slow the rate of air pollution to create a more breathable and cooler space.

In expanding and improving the facilities along the Jeddah Corniche, the Formula 1 stc Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is proving itself to be a catalyst for positive change for the whole community, helping to build a better city, a better community, and a better lifestyle.

  1. Regeneration of the Lagoon

Before the construction of the circuit and its adjacent infrastructure could begin, an extensive clean-up and regeneration of the whole lagoon — on which large parts of the track are situated — had to be instigated.

The lagoon regeneration project was divided in two stages. The first started in May 2021, covering a land reclamation area of 20,025 square metres, while the second stage — covering an area of 3,000 square metres — was completed in late October 2021. The process included the installation of a system to purify and treat the water to prevent the future formation and accumulation of algae.

The result of the works has been the creation of a stunning recreational space for the community of Jeddah to enjoy, long after the presence of a Formula 1 race with the roads and infrastructure designed to last at least 15 years. The environmental works of the project has had a positive impact on the habitat with the natural replenishment of fish and wildlife.

The project — which covers points 11,14,15,16, and 17 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals — will be an ongoing project for many years to come.

  1. Food donations to the local community

During last year’s Grand Prix, the race promoter partnered with local charity Etaam, the Saudi Food Bank Association, to reduce waste and recycle food into the local community.

All unconsumed food and beverages from Premium Hospitality, Paddock Club, Premium Suites, the Hospitality Villas as well as the Media Island and Race Control were taken to the Saudi Food Bank charity for distribution to those most in need.

Food was divided into sandwiches, bakery baskets, vegetables and lastly fruits and juices. Volunteers were able to supply food to over 2,000 beneficiaries with a total of over 650 meals, 959 bakery baskets and 1,952 juice baskets.

  1. Launch of ‘Saudi Young Stars’ electric karting programme

A competition to encourage and inspire the next generation of Saudi drivers was launched by the Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation (SAMF). Aimed at racers aged between six and 12, the scheme was created to find the fastest 20 drivers, who then competed together in environmentally friendly electric ‘e-Karts’ in the Fan Zone during the Formula 1 race weekend.

The goal of the ‘Saudi Young Stars’ e-Karting competition, powered by Electromin was to bring together a rich and diverse group of young, local talent to showcase Saudi Arabia’s expanding grassroots motorsports programme and to give young enthusiasts the opportunity to experience racing.

The competition used equal-performance electric race karts that could achieve top speeds of 55mph. The e-karts used electric power rather than traditional fuel, reducing the impact of carbon emissions, and the innovative technology can be regulated to lower speeds, making them the perfect vehicle for children to compete and learn in.

“We wanted to inspire our young people to dream big,” said HRH Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, Chairman of SAMF. “The arrival of F1 in Saudi Arabia went beyond just three days of unforgettable sport and entertainment. It was also destined to leave a lasting legacy for the people of Saudi Arabia — and none more so than our youth.

“In offering the chance to showcase their karting talents we were providing youngsters with the chance to realise their potential and the many possibilities that are available for them through motorsport.”

  1. Pioneering partnership with local University

Prior to the inaugural Grand Prix, the Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation came together to form a pioneering partnership with the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah. The alliance was formed to enable graduates from the University to be part of the event delivery team, providing them with a first-hand experience of working on a major global sporting and entertainment product.

The students underwent an intensive training program, learning from prominent specialists and global experts under the direct supervision of SAMF. As part of the commitment to building capability and leaving a human legacy, a special focus was given to developing each participant’s skills required to take the next steps in their careers.

The aim was to help support the development of university students and graduates into becoming full-time members of the organizing committees of the various major motorsport events that will be hosted in the Kingdom over the next decade: including the Formula 1 stc Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Formula E, Dakar Rally and Extreme E amongst others.

This opportunity is in keeping with the principles of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 programme, which promises to offer opportunities for all through education and training and high-quality services such as employment initiatives, health, housing, and entertainment.

“We believe that the best way to learn, is to do. This exciting partnership offered some of the brightest and best of our Kingdom the opportunity to receive hands-on, tangible experience of working across a variety of roles in delivering the biggest sporting event ever to take place in Saudi Arabia,” said HRH Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Abdullah Al Faisal.

“We helped develop and discover the leaders of the future and created a platform to educate and prepare our youth to forge their own career paths at the highest level – both in Saudi Arabia and beyond.

“As set out in our Vision 2030 manifesto, together we will continue building a better country, fulfilling our dream of prosperity and unlocking the talent, potential, and dedication of our young men and women.”

  1. Working with local community on charitable projects

In the lead-up to the first Formula 1 race last December, SAMF ensured the people of Saudi Arabia were able to directly participate in the historic occasion, whilst also contributing towards a vital cause.

As part of a record-breaking charity event, Saudi residents were able ‘purchase’ a Lego brick to form part of a model Formula 1 car. The proceeds of each brick went directly to Ehsan, the charity supporting Saudi Arabia’s social, educational, healthcare, relief, environmental, economic, and technical sectors.

Located at the Red Sea Mall in Jeddah, the assembly of the world’s largest Lego Formula 1 car used over 500,000 bricks and was carried out by Lego-certified professionals. As such, this provided hundreds of thousands of Saudi Arabians with the opportunity to participate and donate to this record-breaking endeavour which was in-keeping with the country’s commitment to Vision 2030 – with the goal of delivering a brighter future for all Saudi citizens.

The final Lego brick was laid by HRH Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal on what was Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day, making this incredible accomplishment even more significant for the Kingdom’s residents.

“This exciting project was all about giving back to our community and reflecting the true meaning and values of progress, innovation and social responsibility that symbolise modern Saudi Arabia,” said HRH Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal. “This incredible accomplishment has been a feat of collaboration and ingenuity bound by a collective passion to use the power of Formula 1 to provide Saudi Arabia with a brighter future.”

  1. Smaller-scale sustainability projects at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit

During the week of the Formula 1 stc Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and at the event itself, there were a number of sustainable-driven projects that were aimed at either reducing carbon emissions or transitioning to a circular world through innovative ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. There were many examples of these, from paperless, electronic tickets to solar-powered signs. In the case of the latter, 86 solar powered signs were used, replacing as many traditional signs, saving 82.7% of electricity in total.

While the event took place under floodlights, the use of LED lights (instead of high-intensity discharge technology) reduced generator peak demand by approximately 19 per cent and in total saved 140,000 litres of diesel through a 30 per cent decrease in power demand. The lights were also dimmable, further lowering power consumption at times when no HD image quality was required. Building power demand was also reduced through the use of glass curtain walls, which out-performed the requirement of the Saudi building code.

Sustainable food packaging was used in supplying up to 30,000 meals for trackside marshals, the police, royal guards, and civil defence. Biodegradable packaging was also used in the VIP lounge and plastic was reduced wherever it was not mandatory for safe food storage.

A giant JCC-shaped recycling bin was set up in the Fan Zones to encourage spectators to separate plastic bottles, cans and other waste including paper and glass. And awareness to the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals was activated in the Fan Zones on the topics of waste management, recycling, and safe driving. Living statues known as ‘Walking Bushes’ in the Fan Zones also helped to spread awareness and messaging while engaging with visitors.

Around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit there was the installation of six Electric Vehicle (EV) charger points while marshal posts around the track were powered with solar energy. There was also green transport with electric-powered boats to take media to and from the Media Island and the Formula 1 Paddock.

During the construction, the materials for the racetrack were sourced, manufactured, and paved within a distance of a 400km radius of the site. In addition, a German asphalt plant was constructed less than 1km from the site entrance with a quality control asphalt lab established on site.

Finally, a programme was established with animal welfare associations and local vets to help trap over one hundred wild cats roaming on the site and provide them with veterinary treatment (where necessary) and they were subsequently either moved to a safer area or put up for adoption.

In conclusion…

Sport can be a powerful vehicle for meaningful change and Formula 1 is no different. As an essential part of the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals, Saudi Motorsport Company is continuing to drive the agenda forward by turning its environmental strategy into action and collaborating with partners that are leaders in the field of sustainability.

In addition, in line with the positive actions of the Saudi Vision 2030 policy, Saudi Motorsport Company is continuing to work closely in partnership with Formula 1 to strive towards helping build a society and community that is more diverse and inclusive which will result in a better future for all.