Team drivers and bosses discuss safety concerns following the attack on Saudi Arabia by Houthi fighters in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia’s Formula 1 Grand Prix will continue “as planned” despite an attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on an oil facility causing a massive fire visible from the road street of Jeddah.
Flames tore through Aramco . Refinery on Friday and racers even smelled burning during the inaugural practice run.
The drivers held nearly four-hour meetings with team bosses and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and CEO Ross Brawn in the early hours of Saturday about whether to continue race or not.
George Russell, a representative of the drivers’ union, will say: “I don’t have to say it now,” all that George Russell, a representative of the British drivers’ union, would say, while some bosses of the team gave the assurance that “We race”.
“Ready and fully focused for tomorrow’s quality!” Red Bull’s Mexican driver Sergio Perez tweeted after the lengthy meeting, seemingly confirming Sunday’s decision to race.
Domenicali earlier confirmed the weekend would continue as planned.
“Formula 1 has been in close contact with the relevant authorities monitoring the situation unfolding today,” an F1 spokesman said after the second training session on Friday night.
“Authorities have confirmed that the event can continue as planned.”
‘I smell burning’
Domenicali and Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the newly elected president of sports governing body the International Drivers Federation (FIA), met with drivers and team bosses to try to reassure them.
“We have received complete assurance of safety and security here, for the country and for the families,” said Domenicali.
The champion of the world Max Verstappen was one of the first drivers to learn about the movie going on when he was guiding his Red Bull team during their first practice session.
“I smell burning – is that my car?” The Dutchman spoke on the radio of his team.
Friday’s attack was part of a wave of attacks ahead of the seventh anniversary of the Saudi-led coalition’s military intervention against the Houthis in Yemen, a country wracked by a crisis. The world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The coalition against Iran-aligned rebels confirmed the Jeddah oil plant attack.
“They are trying to influence the nerve center of the world economy,” the union said in a statement. “These attacks have no impact on life in Jeddah.”
Early on Saturday, the coalition said it had carried out retaliatory strikes against the Yemeni capital Sanaa and the port city of Hodeidah.
Meanwhile, on the track, Charles Leclerc topped the final Ferrari practice time ahead of Verstappen.
The 24-year-old Monegasque driver and embryo championship season lead hit a one-minute best of 30,074 to trail the Dutchman by almost two-tenths.
Carlos Sainz finished third in the second Ferrari and fourth Sergio Perez, with a Lewis Hamilton 5th ahead of new Mercedes teammate George Russell after a bumpy day and slips on the fast track.