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  • Sheryll Mericido

Premiere of "Return of a Winner" at Jeddah's Prince Sultan Aviation Academy

The "Return of a Winner" movie premiere was presented by SAUDIA and the Saudi Motorsport Company (SMC) at the Prince Sultan Aviation Academy in Jeddah. The film follows the historic Williams FW07's restoration after it was driven by Australian Alan Jones to victory in the 1980 Formula 1 World Championship. In addition to His Excellency the Director General of SAUDIA Group, Engr. Ibrahim Al-Omar, the premiere was attended by His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, Chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, and the Saudi Motorsport Company.

The 35-minute movie, which was made over the course of 2021 and 2022, details the process of rebuilding the Williams FW07 car after more than 40 years. In spite of significant technical challenges, the British engineering and restoration company MEM, directed by Chris Mellors, undertook the task of restoring the car. During the first Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in December 2021, His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, Minister of Sports, got the chance to co-drive with former World Champions Damon Hill and Emerson Fittipaldi. As a tribute to the late Sir Frank Williams, owner of the Williams team, who passed away the week before the event, Formula 1 also had Damon Hill drive the car in a solo lap of the track before the Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Chief Marketing Officer for the SAUDIA Group, Mr. Khaled Tash, stated: "The movie will be available to SAUDIA guests on the in-flight entertainment systems on SAUDIA's flights. The documentary will be available for SAURIA visitors from all around the world to see while they are in the air. Since the Kingdom has been hosting many of these events, including the earliest stages of the renowned Williams team sponsorship, SAUDIA partners with numerous national and international sporting events. We are pleased that, as the official carrier, SAUDIA's contribution speed has accelerated frequently.

The Chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and the Saudi Motorsport Company, His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, added the following: "It was a great honor to be present at tonight's screening to watch the story of this remarkable car and the painstaking effort that went into reconstructing it in time for our first-ever Formula 1 race in 2021. It is evident that Saudi Arabia has a longstanding, intense enthusiasm for motorsports. One of the main sources of inspiration for our aspirations for the future—dreams that are becoming a reality year after year—is the success of our motorsport past. Thank you to everyone who worked on this documentary.

SAUDIA has taken part in numerous important athletic events. In addition to supporting the Williams team from 1977 to 1984, it has supported the Formula E Diriyah race since 2019, the World Heavyweight Championship's "Rage on the Red Sea," as well as being the Official Carrier and Platinum Partner of the Saudi Cup, the richest horse race in the world.

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