Saudi race not about F1 healing powers but cash and cleaning the regime’s reputation | Marina Hyde

For all the talk of social change in Saudi Arabia, the beneficiaries of a grand prix would be F1’s coffers and the country’s ruler

Was it really only last year that Formula One’s owner, Liberty Media, was making its pious announcement that “grid girls” would no longer be a part of its stewardship of this most woke of all sports? “We feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values,” intoned F1’s managing director of commercial operations back then, “and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.”

But which society? Formula One takes gazillions to race in so many different types of society. It feels difficult to apply any standard across the board. For instance, things that might be acceptable in the land of Silverstone, such as human rights and democracy, are less acceptable in the land of, say, the Shanghai International Circuit.

I’m sure F1’s most idealistic minds are thinking: can’t a brutal dictatorial regime grow? Can’t it change?

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Source: Formula 1

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