Saudi Arabia wants it all. The country already has its Formula 1 Grand Prix, in Jeddah until 2027 and with a view to continue for many years to come, while work has already started on another circuit in Qiddiya.
The country even has ambitions for existing F1 teams to move to its futuristic city of Neom, but even that doesn’t satisfy their need.
It has now been revealed that the Saudis tried to buy Formula 1 as a whole.
According to the Bloomberg, the offer was made in early 2022, with the Middle Eastern country offering the Liberty Group an astronomical offer of 20 billion dollars, about 18.5 billion euros.
The offer was made through PIF, its investment fund which has a diversified portfolio of investments.
However, Liberty was not interested in selling a commodity that they themselves recently purchased from Bernie Ecclestone in September 2016 for around 4.4bn dollars.
While the product suffered severe losses due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, it has been on an upward trajectory since then with significant profits and a current valuation of 12.5bn dollars.
Saudi Arabia will keep pushing to buy F1
The Saudis, though, are not willing to take the ‘no’ as a definitive answer. According to Bloomberg, they have intimated to Liberty that the offer is still valid and they are even open to raising it.
Meanwhile, the country continues to invest in motorsport, in different ways. It already has shares in McLaren and Aston Martin, where it is the second largest shareholder after Lawrence Stroll.
Meanwhile, Aramco, the state’s own oil company, is the main sponsor of numerous Grand Prix and of F1 itself.
Saudi Arabia’s other sporting ventures
F1 is just one part of the country’s ambitious campaign to burnish its name via sport.
It also hosts the Dakar Rally and has signed a deal for MotoGP. It is also about to organize a WRC Rally and has already secured a Formula E eprix.
In addition to its forays in motorsport, the oil rich nation is looking to make its mark in football with Cristiano Ronaldo‘s arrival in Al Nassr a statement of intent.
Saudi Arabia’s investment fund also own Newcastle in the Premier League and they have announced that they will bid to host the 2030 World Cup.
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