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Formula 1 accused of ‘sportswashing a blood-soaked regime’ with Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Formula 1 bosses have been accused of “sportswashing Mohammed bin Salman’s blood-soaked regime” on the eve of the second running of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The second race of the season takes place less than two weeks after Saudi authorities revealed 81 executions in a single day.

The sport has a 10-year deal, worth £50million a year, to host a race in Saudi Arabia and has repeatedly said it will use its platform to help make changes.

But Reprieve, which investigates and campaigns against human rights abuses, said it was wrong for the sport to have a race in the nation.

Reprieve director Maya Foa said: “Stefano Domenicali [F1 CEO] says Saudi Arabia is headed in the right direction when the kingdom is on track to execute almost 500 people this year, more than twice as ever before.

“By racing there so soon after a mass execution, Formula 1 is signalling there will be no consequences for executing people who took part in pro-democracy protests. The 10-year deal F1 has just signed with the kingdom is effectively a contract to sportswash Mohammed bin Salman’s blood-soaked regime.”