Qatar Airways to be announced as the new airline sponsor for Formula 1 

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Motorsport cars racing on race track with motion blur background, cornering scene. 3D Rendering.

Qatar Airways will be announced as the new Formula 1 airline, reportedly almost doubling the fee paid by incumbent airline Emirates to secure the rights.

SportBusiness reported that “the state-owned flag carrier has agreed to a deal to become a top-tier F1 Global Partner from the start of the 2023 season, with the deal expected to be announced ahead of the first race in Bahrain from March 3-5”.

According to Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has expressed interest in acquiring the high-profile franchise F1 in its entirety, which it valued at over $20 billion including debt, and could be a serious bidder should Liberty Media decide to sell, having reportedly declined to sell to PIF.  

Middle Eastern heavyweights have been reforming and reinventing themselves, also through sport. Saudi Arabia has been investing heavily in sports as it opens up to competing globally for Western-style forms of entertainment under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In recent years, it has bought into English Premier League football club Newcastle United FC and hosted major events in boxing, golf and F1. 

Hot on the heels of Qatar successfully hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Doha in November and December, Saudi Arabia announced its bid to host the World Cup in 2030. Both countries are emulating neighbour UAE’s ability to attract the masses, all competing on the sports front, with offers to invest in more European Leagues clubs, sponsor the major Leagues across the globe, or host ever more spectacular events at home. 

As the President of the UAE commented upon his visit to Qatar halfway through the World Cup, Doha’s hosting of the World Cup is a “success” for all Arabs. A win by any Middle Eastern country to host or sponsor major events, is a win for the region.

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