Horner backs decision to race, sport ‘shouldn’t be bullied’

Michelle Foster
Christian Horner conducts an interview. Bahrain March 2022

Christian Horner supports Formula 1’s decision to continue with the Saudi Arabian GP weekend, saying sport “shouldn’t be bullied”.

Round two of the 2022 championship, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, was thrown into chaos on Friday when Yemen’s Houthi rebel group launched a missile attack on an oil facility just nine miles away from the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

The attack took place during Friday’s first practice leading to a 15-minute delay to the start of FP2 as the drivers and team bosses met F1 president Stefano Domenicali and the FIA’s Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

A second meeting was held after FP2, that one lasting four hours with Formula 1’s bosses eventually putting to bed threats from the drivers to boycott the rest of the race weekend.

Domenicali came out of that meeting declaring “we will race”.

Red Bull team boss Horner says that is the right decision.

“I think the sport has to stand together collectively,” said the Briton.

“Any act of terrorism cannot be condoned, and the sport shouldn’t be bullied into a position that a situation like that just isn’t acceptable.

“Stefano and the president, they’re dealing with it, and there have been all the assurances from the organisers and we will be going to race.”

McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl said the drivers and team bosses had been assured by Domenicali that there were “no safety concerns” but admits he is still worried.

“It was a very worrying situation for all of us,” he told Sky Germany. “So it was just important to have the dialogue with Formula 1 to understand what information they have.

“Stefano assured us that the authorities here are aware of the incident have investigated and that there are no safety concerns with the continuation of the event here, so we are relying on that information and that’s why we went back to the pits.”

He added: “Of course it is not reassuring when you hear about an incident like this that is not far from the track. But we now simply have to rely on the information that we have received.

“We have confidence that Formula 1 will make the right decisions.”

As for Williams CEO Jost Capito, he insisted that he still feels “safe” and believes his entire team is too.

“It was discussed how security is here,” he said. “We were assured that it is safe wherever there are people and that there have been many attacks, but in areas that are uninhabited.

“Even all the ministers are here and if they aren’t was a safe place, they would certainly be the first not to be there.

 

“I feel safe. If I didn’t feel safe, then I wouldn’t feel safe for the whole team because I have responsibility for the whole team. There was no discrepancy the drivers and teams.

“I think it’s the right place to drive this weekend because we’re all here. If so, it should have been discussed beforehand.”