Revving up for women driving

Italian mission honors first Saudi female to own a Ferrari

March 02, 2018
Abdulaziz Hammad

Saudi Gazette

THE Consulate General of Italy in Jeddah celebrated Aseel Al-Hamad, the first woman member on the board of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation and the first Saudi female to own a Ferrari.

The celebrations were held at the Italian Cultural Center on Tuesday.

The event, titled “Saudi Women Can Drive Italian”, was attended by an Italian diplomatic delegation headed by undersecretary for foreign affairs Vincenzo Amendola.

A variety of Italian sports cars were showcased giving Saudi women an opportunity to ride them. The Italian Consulate screened a short film about Maria Teresa, the first woman to race in Formula One for Maserati.

The Italian mission then honored Aseel Al-Hamad.

Speaking at the function, Amendola said: “The Italian community as well as the mission here is working to make this country strong in terms of advancing on technological innovation and intellectual capabilities. So what we want to do together with all the Italian teams and the mission here in Jeddah is to plan for the future together in a show of friendship, peace and cooperation. And tonight we are also celebrating Aseel like we celebrated Maria in the past. She is the future.”

Amendola said Italy was a friendly country that wanted to establish with the Kingdom "a present and a future of common development.”

Italian Ambassador to the Kingdom Luca Ferrari said: “We want to demonstrate that women and cars are something that can go together. Cars are not a male object, they can be something that belongs to women, and with the royal decree that allowed Saudi women to drive it is very important to do this kind of women empowerment events.”

About the royal decree that allowed Saudi women to drive, Ferrari said: “The international community received the news with extreme happiness and I think it's another step for Saudi Arabia toward a more modern society.”

Italian Senator Nicola Latorre said: “This event confirms the good relations between Italy and Saudi Arabia, not only economic relations but also political relations because this relationship is strategic for the future. We want to support the commitment in Saudi Arabia to reform the economy and also to open a new role for women in this society.”

Accepting the honors Al-Hamad said: “You have really supported all Saudi women tonight. It's a great honor to stand here tonight and share my passion for Ferrari. Honestly I am so happy to have my name linked tonight to my beloved Italy.”

Al-Hamad added: “Today I am so happy thanks to our beloved King Salman and our Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman that in a few months we Saudi women are going to drive in our own country. Today I stand here telling you that driving is an art, and driving can really be fun, especially when you drive Italian cars.”

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