The Diriyah E-Prix double-header will kick-off the seventh season of the FIA Formula E world championship after the series formally committed to starting the campaign in Saudi Arabia.

It follows the postponement of the Santiago E-Prix - originally scheduled to be the season opener on 16-17 January - last month amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Concerns over the crisis have escalated since the discovery of a new variant of the COVID-19 virus which has been spreading rapidly in Britain. Chile responded by closing its borders to the United Kingdom, which has been forced to enter a third national lockdown this week due to a rapid rise in new cases. 

The championship is aiming to reschedule the postponed Santiago event for later in the first quarter of 2021.

The delayed 2020-2021 season will now begin with a double-header event in Saudi Arabia on 26-27 February which will feature the all-electric championship’s first-ever night races.

Formula E issued a brief statement on social media on Tuesday afternoon confirming that the Saudi Arabia races would act as the opening rounds of the season. understands the championship is hoping to announce the next set of races for 2021 by the end of the month.

Formula revealed its season seventh calendar back in June but indefinitely delayed both the Mexico City and Sanya rounds in October prior to calling off the Santiago E-Prix.

The pandemic led Formula E to cancel planned races in Rome, Paris, Seoul, Jakarta, Berlin, New York, and London last year as it eventually concluded its 2019-2020 season by organising six races across nine days in Berlin.