“Safety is assured, let’s run”: the Grand Prix from saudi arabia F1 is going ahead “as planned” despite attacks in the country on Friday, most notably on an oil rig near the Jeddah circuit claimed by Yemeni rebels Houthis. “The authorities have confirmed that the event can go ahead as planned,” championship promoter Formula 1 said in a statement released minutes after Free Practice 2. dominated by the Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari).
The circuit not specifically targeted
Then F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and local authorities received the drivers and team bosses to reassure them.
“We have been given full assurance that security is a priority for the country,” Domenicali told media after the meeting. They (the Saudi officials, editor’s note) are on the track with their families and they have put in place all the necessary systems to protect this area, the city and the places we are going to. We therefore have every confidence in it (…) That is why we will continue with the event. †
“What are they (the Houthis, editor’s note) striving for? The economic infrastructure, not the citizens and not the race track. We’ve checked the facts and have a high degree of certainty that this place is safe. Safety is assured, let’s go for a run,” Ben Sulayem added. And Domecali denies with what seems like a pirouette the rumor that certain pilots would not want to go further: “they’ll be on the track, you’ll see”.
“The drivers will be on track”
The decision to continue was unanimous “under the team boss”, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff developed. As for the pilots, they are free to make their choice, “we are in a democracy”. The attack on the Jeddah oil site is one of 16 claimed by the Houthis on Friday, on the eve of the seventh anniversary of the intervention of the military coalition led by the Riyadh in Yemen to support the government against nearby rebels. from Iran.
she provoked a gigantic fire and a cloud of black smoke visible from the track during Free Practice 1 at 5:00 PM local (3:00 PM French) and thereafter. “I smell something burning, is that my car?” ‘, even Dutch driver Max Verstappen (Red Bull) asked his team.
Already fastest in the first practice session in 1 min 30 sec 772/1000, Leclerc, winner of the inaugural GP in Bahrain last week, increased his time to 1 min 30 sec 074/1000 at nightfall, in conditions for the qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.