F1 chiefs confirm the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix WILL go ahead on Sunday

F1 chiefs confirm the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix WILL go ahead on Sunday after holding crunch talks with concerned drivers and team bosses over an oil depot attack near the Jeddah circuit

  • Formula 1 and the FIA have confirmed the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will go ahead
  • F1 chiefs spoke with drivers and team bosses after an oil depot attack in Jeddah 
  • They have received assurances from Saudi officials that Sunday’s race is ‘secure’
  • Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed to have launched a missile at the depot on Friday 
  • Smoke was then seen billowing out across the Jeddah circuit during practice 
  • Lewis Hamilton was leading the campaign for Sunday’s race to be cancelled 

Formula 1 and the FIA have confirmed the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will go ahead as planned on Sunday following extensive discussions with drivers and team bosses after an attack on an oil depot close to the Jeddah circuit.  

Smoke was seen billowing out across the circuit during practice on Friday after the depot was attacked by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, raising concerns over Sunday’s Grand Prix going ahead. 

Drivers were locked in a three-and-a-half-hour meeting in the paddock to discuss whether it should still take place, with Lewis Hamilton campaigning for it to be scrapped. 

Formula 1 has confirmed the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will go ahead despite an oil depot attack

Yemeni terrorists have claimed they launched a missile strike causing the blaze near Jeddah

But an F1 statement on Saturday read: ‘Following the widely reported incident that took place in Jeddah on Friday, there has been extensive discussion between all stakeholders, the Saudi government authorities and security agencies who have given full and detailed assurances that the event is secure.

‘It has been agreed with all stakeholders to maintain a clear and open dialogue throughout the event and for the future.’

The drivers remained in their meeting until 2:30am, having invited F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali in to discuss the situation.

Hamilton sat on a desk and argued his point before the team principals were called in to speak to Domenicali, while Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell represented. the GPDA position.

But when that further gathering left the paddock, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner confirmed: ‘We’ll be racing.’ 

When a giant plume of dark smoke filled the air at about 5.45pm on Friday, world champion Max Verstappen reported to his Red Bull team over the radio as first practice drew towards a close: ‘I smell a bit of burning. I am not sure if it is my car, or another car.’  

Domenicali had insisted they would not cancel the lucrative race earlier in the evening. 

Lewis Hamilton campaigned for the £50million Saudi Arabia Grand Prix to be called off

After the second of two crisis meetings finished, the Italian said: ‘We’ve had a discussion with the drivers and team principals together with the Saudi authorities and Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the president of the FIA, and the governor of Jeddah.

‘We have received total assurance that the country’s safety is 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 the systems to protect this area, the city and the places where we are going. So we feel confident to trust the local authorities in that respect and, therefore, we will go ahead with the event.’

Share this article

Source: Read Full Article