Bottas confirms drivers discussed ‘what if we don’t race’

Michelle Foster
Saudi Arabian drivers meeting. Saudi Arabia March 2022

Saudi Arabian drivers meeting. Saudi Arabia March 2022

Valtteri Bottas has confirmed that the drivers did discuss their options such as not racing in Saudi Arabia during Friday night’s meeting.

Round two of the championship, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, was thrown into chaos on Friday when rebels attacked an oil depot about nine miles from the Jeddah circuit, hitting it with a missile.

As smoke billowed in the air, the drivers had a four-hour long meeting with Formula 1 bosses and the FIA to discuss the situation.

It wrapped up at 2am with F1 chief Stefano Domenicali declaring “we will race”.

There have since been reports that the drivers were warned of the possible consequences if they boycotted the race, with Bottas confirming that was up for discussion.

“We were all concerned if it’s safe for all of us to be here to race here and we got decent explanations on things,” the Alfa Romeo driver told The Race.

“Also we went through all the options like what if we don’t race and for example that means the team still has to stay here for a couple of days packing stuff and it’s not like that we can suddenly create new flights to get home.

“We’re already here so the best option was to race here. They increased all the safety facilities and all these defences, so I think everyone agreed we might as well do the race and hope for the best.”

Asked whether he personally was okay racing in Saudi Arabia, he replied: “I prefer not to answer that question.”

With Formula 1 making the call to continue with the race weekend, Sergio Perez stormed to his maiden pole position on Saturday night.

He, however, was one of the drivers who had reservations about staying in the country.

He said: “We were concerned about our safety, but also the safety of our mechanics, engineers, everyone in here.

“But obviously, there is so much we know as drivers so it was just important we got all together.

“At the end of the day, this is our sport and we are all in it together. We felt that the right thing was to go ahead and just race.

“There is not a lot of detail to be said.”

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton refused to let the media know where he personally stood, the Briton saying: “I’m not here to comment on that. We worked together as a group, we all discussed and made a decision as a sport.”


As for Carlos Sainz, who will line up P3 on the Saudi Arabian grid, he says “it’s time to focus on the race. There will be plenty to discuss in the future.”