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Saudi PIF said to have explored over $20bn bid to buy F1

The PIF remains a serious bidder should F1 owner Liberty Media change its mind

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) had plans to include Formula 1 motor racing in its growing sports investment portfolio, Bloomberg reported, citing informed sources.

A possible deal failed in the early stages last year as F1’s owner Liberty Media Corporation was not interested in selling the F1 franchise, which the Saudi sovereign fund valued at over $20 billion, including debt.

The PIF remains interested in the asset and would be a serious bidder should Liberty Media change its mind, the report said.

Saudi Arabia has been actively investing in the sports sector. The kingdom has invested in the English Premier League football club Newcastle United FC and hosted major events in boxing, golf and F1.

The Middle East will host four races in the 2023 season, with the first two set to take place in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in March, Qatar scheduled for October and Avu Dhabi finishing the season in November

Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producer, finalised a sponsorship deal with F1 in 2020.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Sport and Ministry of Tourism have set an ambitious target for sports to contribute 0.6 percent of GDP by 2030, up from approximately 0.2 percent today, with the purpose of also boosting international tourism numbers.