F1 bosses defend controversial Saudi Arabia race
"Sports should unite people and help change the world"
Top F1 team bosses have defended the decision to add a new race in Saudi Arabia to the sport’s unprecedented 23-round schedule for 2021.
After news of the as-yet unpublished provisional calendar leaked, Amnesty International slammed Formula 1 for apparently allowing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to "sports-wash" its human rights record with a top global event.
When asked about that, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said at Imola: "Sports should unite people and help change the world for the better.
"A year ago, I went to Riyadh for the Formula E race and I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. I can only judge with my own eyes but I saw a wonderful weekend without any sign of inequality - it was women and men enjoying the sporting spectacle together.
"You always need to start somewhere and I think Formula E was the first step and now we need to continue to try to help change the world gradually for the better," he added.
Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto agrees: "Holding sports competitions is always positive.
"Sport always carries a positive message, which is the way I think we should look at this."
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