Formula 1 confirm Saudi Arabian GP will continue
Formula 1 have confirmed the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend will continue despite the terrorist attack near the circuit in Jeddah.
A meeting was called after FP2 attended by the sport’s leading officials, drivers and team bosses following news that a missile had struck an Aramco facility 12 miles from the circuit, setting it ablaze.
Smoke and flames could be seen from the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, while Max Verstappen reported he could smell burning while driving in FP1, initially thinking his car was on fire.
FP2 was delayed by 15 minutes while the competitors were briefed about the developing situation, with all 20 drivers still choosing to take part in that session.
This was despite the obvious security concerns after Yemen’s Iran-based Houthi group had claimed responsibility for the missile attack.
BBC Sport report some drivers have concerns about the event still going ahead, but quoted a Formula 1 statement which announced the weekend will “continue as planned”.
That followed a meeting attended by drivers and team principals with Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem.
Toto Wolff: “a good meeting, the team principals have been assured of the safety. The drivers are now discussing in the drivers meeting” #SaudiArabianGP #F1
— FormulaNerds 🤓🏁 (@Formula_Nerds) March 25, 2022
“Formula 1 has been in close contact with the relevant authorities following the situation that took place today,” read the statement.
“The authorities have confirmed the event can continue as planned and we will remain in close contact with them and all the teams and closely monitor the situation.”
One of the drivers with misgivings may be Sergio Perez, who had been said by Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko to have been “a little bit scared” by what had happened.
Although Marko was able to express his views, saying he thought the race should proceed if safe to do so, teams and drivers had been instructed to cancel their usual media commitments after Friday practice.
After the meeting, Domenicali told reporters: “We have done a meeting with the drivers and team principals, together with the maximum authority of Saudi, and we have received total assurance that for the country’s safety first, no matter the situation safety has to be guaranteed.
“They are here with their families, actually here at the track, so they have in place all the system to protect this area, the city, the places we are going. So we feel confident and we have to trust the local authority in that respect.
“Of course, we will go ahead with the event.”
Ben Sulayem added: “We had meetings with high-level security, the team principals and drivers. Who are they (terrorists) targeting? They are targeting the economic infrastructure, not civilians and of course not the track.
“Of course we checked the facts from them and we got the assurance from high level that this is a secure place, the whole thing will be secure and let’s go on racing.
“For sure all the families are here. We are only looking forward, but for sure with an assurance that nothing is going to happen.”
Asked if all the teams were unanimous about the decision, Domenicali said: “Yes, we are here all together. You can see we are standing together. I think we need to trust the local authorities not only here but all around the world.”