Sustainability & The FORMULA 1 STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX: The Story So Far

As Saudi Arabia prepares for its second FIA Formula 1 World Championship race on the weekend of March 25th – 27th, the Saudi Motorsport Company (SMC) is taking further steps to extend sustainability beyond mere compliance and to actively deliver solutions to the environmental crisis, via a series of initiatives closely aligned to the Vision 2030 policy which aims to transform the Kingdom’s economy and develop a more inclusive society.
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 F1’s WeRaceAsOne programme, here is an overview of the holistic steps SMC 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 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.
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 planted 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.
2. Regeneration of the Lagoon
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 result of the works has been the creation of a stunning recreational space for the community of Jeddah to enjoy. The environmental works of the project has had a positive impact on the habitat with the natural replenishment of fish and wildlife.
The project also covers points 11,14,15,16, and 17 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
3. 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 as well as fruits and juices. Volunteers supplied food to over 2,000 beneficiaries with a total of over 650 meals, 959 bakery baskets and 1,952 juice baskets.
4. Launch of ‘Saudi Young Stars’ electric karting programme
A competition to inspire the next generation of Saudi drivers was launched by the Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation (SAMF). Aimed at racers aged between 6 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.
5. 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. 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.
6. Working with local community on charitable projects
In the lead-up to the first Formula 1 race last December, Saudi residents were able ‘purchase’ a Lego brick to form part of a model Formula 1 car as part of a record-breaking charity event. 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. This provided hundreds of thousands of Saudi Arabians with the opportunity to participate and donate to this record-breaking endeavour – with the goal of delivering a brighter future for all Saudi citizens.
7. Smaller-scale sustainability projects at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit
During the week of the FORMULA 1 STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX  2021 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.
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.
To purchase your ticket to the FORMULA 1 STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX 2022, please visit
Adam Sinclair