How Saudi Arabia’s Partnership With The FIA Formula E Championship is Enhancing Road Safety and Security

At the 2018 Saudi Al-Diriyah Formula E – Prix, Team2030 Co-Founders Tarik Solomon and Richard Schrems met with Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF) and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) to discuss raising awareness of the transformation and sustainability of motorsports in-Kingdom. Team2030 is working with local organizations to empower and inspire the motorsport community and transportation environment to get more involved and participate. To enhance the ecosystem and have influencers speak up about it. While recent programs, such as the Saher camera ticketing system in Riyadh have demonstrated success in reducing injury severity and mortality for victims, further interventions could reduce the burden of road accidents on the health and wellbeing of the residents of Saudi Arabia. The Formula E is one very public example of how the Saudis are forming and using strategic partnerships and alliances to increase the countries road safety awareness. So now with the Saudi’s passion for motorsport in the Kingdom running deep and women being allowed to drive, everyone is happy.

What does this all mean for the future road safety and security?

Motorsports, which falls under the umbrella of the Saudi sports sector, one of the country’s economic pillars, is a major component of the community. However, motorsports is also one part of a much larger matter that Saudi Arabia is aggressively seeking to impact: road safety and security. Recent Ministry of Transport (MOT) statistics indicate that 28 out of 100,000 people die from a traffic related incident, which is decreasing. In 2017, there were also approximately 50,000 non-fatal injuries that occurred. Saudi Arabia, being a large country with a sizeable population, needs to raise awareness about road safety. Especially since the MOT documents 3.5 million road-related movements occurring daily.  This is especially important because when any of these road movements are ill-performed, they result in an accident, and these accidents are causing a documented economic loss estimated to cost the Saudi government 3 – 4% each year of their total budget. Jean Todt, President of the motorsport governing body FIA, was very pleased during his visit for the Formula E and acknowledged Saudi Arabia’s rapid progress through the ranks of motor sport. He reiterated that this event further evidences the Kingdom’s commitment to the social and economic reforms, driven forward by HRH Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. However, Todt, who is also appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as his Special Envoy for Road Safety, bolstered the fact that road safety is truly a social issue that needs to be addressed. A lot of lives are lost and ruined, the Saudi government loses a lot of money as a result of accidents as well. He’s speaking with Saudi officials and they are well aware of the need to improve driving standards, even before the recent addition of women drivers.  As SAMF and the motorsports industry reaches into the community, it was agreed that a concerted effort is needed to raise awareness about road safety and accidents, and that a higher degree of social responsibility is required. The Formula E this past weekend marked the first in a 10-year partnership between ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia (GSA)and SAMF.  HRH Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Abdullah Al-Faisal indicated that Saudi Arabia is racing into the future with Formula E as they open the Kingdom to the world with the Vision2030 transformation. Formula E brings international motorsport to the country for the first time and Prince Khalid explained that the legacy of the event will last. It’s a legacy that reaches beyond the track and into the community. Some of SAMF’s priorities include:
  1. Increasing Motorsport Participation and Road Safety Awareness
  2. Broadening and Developing the Motorsports Ecosystem
  3. Developing and Managing an International Talent Pipeline
  4. Growing, Supervising, Regulating, and Organizing Motorsports Activities In-Kingdom
Abdulhadi Al-Qahtani, a former SAMF board member, experienced professional motorsport racer, and CEO of Hwadi Ltd Co, a Saudi investment and activation organization with a demonstrated history of working in the motorsport industry, is one of the private sector pioneers implementing road safety programs and empowering female drivers behind the wheel. He understands that motorsports has the power to excite and entertain millions across the country, but it also has a responsibility to its drivers, spectators and the wider public, to demonstrate the highest safety standards and to deliver the vital message that high speed belongs on the race circuit, not on the road. As this cluster of organizations support and foster the Saudi Motorsport industry, there is a clear need to have an advanced and comprehensive public and private sector partnership to bring about real change beyond this exciting weekend at the Formula E. Even in spite of the challenges that remain, robust initiatives are underway by Saudi Arabia to:
  1. Encourage Road safety and Prevent traffic injury
  2. Collect and Analyze Big Traffic Data
  3. Implement Strategic Road Safety Planning and Policy Development
  4. Create a Multipronged Education Approach including – professional education, academic education, and cultural education.

Tarik Solomon and Richard Shrems of Team2030

Many organizations from around the world are getting involved in Saudi Arabia, there is a high demand to do more. FIA advocates to all countries it works with that the public and private sector should work as partners on practical implementation and delivery:

to make the roads safe for all.

About Team2030We are a Saudi Arabian-founded social impact and sustainability project with an objective to be an effective, centralized, online, career destination platform for the Saudi market. Team2030 engages the public and private sectors to provide career discovery, empowerment, and inspiration assistance for millennials and experienced professionals to learn about the job of their dreams with companies present in-Kingdom. We believe, that not only should your candidates that you attract, as a company, be qualified but they should also love their job – and be successful at it.  Team2030 accomplishes this by establishing authentic and lasting connections between the company and candidates before the formal application process begins to ensure “Best-Fit” by creating in-depth, insightful, and captivating video content of companies showcasing their employees, who are their brand ambassadors, by capturing behind-the-scenes moments and heartfelt interviews. Public sector organizations can also use the platform as an opportunity to attract candidates while simultaneously inspiring them and the larger community to be part of solving larger social issues and change.

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About the Author

Tarik Solomon

Tarik is the Vice Chair for the ABGR and spearheads membership and sponsorship outreach. He leads Team2030, a social impact and sustainability project with an objective to be an effective, centralized, online, career destination platform for the Saudi market.