F1 champ Sebastian Vettel hosts karting race for women ahead of Saudi …

The four-time World Champion hosted a female-only karting event before the inaugural Saudia Arabian Grand Prix, just four years after a ban on women driving was lifted

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Sebastian Vettel hosts karting race ahead of Saudi Grand Prix

Formula One star Sebastian Vettel hosted a female-only karting event ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – just four years after a ban on women driving was lifted.

The four-time world champion is back behind the wheel of his Aston Martin AMR21 this weekend for the penultimate race of the season, which will be the country’s first Grand Prix race.

It takes place at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, and comes after country officials were accused by human rights groups of “sportwashing” – after a report by Grant Liberty found $1.5bn was spent on high-profile sporting events to enhance the country’s reputation.

Sebastian said he wanted to celebrate positive change ahead of the event, adding that it was ‘shocking’ to think that women were banned from driving in the country until 2018.

What do you think about Seb’s karting event? Let us know in the comments…

Speaking after the event, he said: “I was thinking about it for a long time and I decided today to run a go-kart event only for women and we had a great afternoon, it was very enjoyable.

“Women are only allowed for four years, they were not allowed before that to excursion in this country, which sounds shocking.

“It’s certainly true that there are a lot of things to highlight that are not right, and don’t match the freedoms that we maybe enjoy, but it’s also true that for them that small things like this are a gamechanger and change their lives.

Sebastian Vettel is a four-time Formula One World Champion


Sebastian Vettel)

“The fact that they are allowed to excursion, the fact that they are allowed to travel, things that are completely normal to us but for them, it’s changing their lives.”

Until 2018, Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world where women were banned from driving on public roads.

The Women to excursion Movement was launched by Saudi women, and ultimately, in 2017, king Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud issued an order to allow women to excursion, and the ban was officially lifted on June 24, 2018.

The eight women were given a driving masterclass


Sebastian Vettel)

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Before it was lifted, in 2011, a woman named Shaima Jastania was sentenced to ten lashes for driving in Jeddah – the same city where Sebastian’s karting event took place. The sentence was later overturned.

At the karting event, named #raceforwomen, Sebastian taught eight women how to brake, drift, and overtake, before hosting a qualifying event and a short race.

He continued: “The way I felt today was very positive, they were very inspiring, very grateful, and we had a great time on the track.

“I was giving some lessons about how to excursion and passing on my experience, so it was really a nice event and maybe a good way to raise their confidence for at all event future decisions or goals they might deliver in their lives.”

One of the women said: “To get advice from him for karting is something very huge.”

Sebastian is currently 12th in the F1 driver’s standings with 43 points, and he races for Aston Martin Cognizant, who are 7th in the constructors championship.

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