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BREAKING: Formula 1 makes decision on Saudi Arabian GP after ‘missile strike’ in Jeddah

F1 chief Stefano Domenicali declared that he “feels safe” as race bosses were bullish about continuing as planned in Jeddah this weekend

The fireball from the explosion could be seen just a few miles from the circuit in Jeddah
The fireball from the explosion could be seen just a few miles from the circuit in Jeddah

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will still go ahead despite a suspected missile attack just a few miles from the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Formula 1 bosses have confirmed.

“The race weekend schedule will continue as planned,” the Saudi Motorsport Company declared in the wake of the blast at an Aramco petrol refinery in the city. “The safety and security of all our guests continues to be our main priority and we look forward to welcoming fans for a weekend of premium racing and entertainment,” the firm added.

That was after it had said it was “aware of the attack on the Aramco distribution station in Jeddah this afternoon and remain in direct contact with the Saudi security authorities, as well as F1 and the FIA to ensure all necessary security and safety measures continue to be implemented to guarantee the safety of all visitors to the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, as well as all drivers, teams and stakeholders”.

F1 chief Stefano Domenicali was similarly confident in the plan to continue to race this weekend, telling reporters: “We feel safe.” A second briefing with team principals will be held after the second practice session of the day, while post-session interviews have been cancelled at the request of the FIA.

An official statement from F1 read: “Formula 1 has been in close contact with the relevant authorities following the situation that took place today. The authorities have confirmed that the event can continue as planned and we will remain in close contact with them and all the teams and closely monitor the situation.”

Meanwhile, the blaze at the oil facility rages on hours after it was targeted in a missile attack. Within minutes, thick black smoke was billowing up into the air to form a cloud that could be seen from all across the city.







The thick, black smoke could be seen from the F1 track in Jeddah
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Image:

REUTERS)

It wasn’t long until the smell of the fire reached the F1 circuit, where cars were out on track for the first practice session ahead of this Sunday’s race. Max Verstappen was tricked into thinking it was his car that was on fire, until his worries were put to ease by his Red Bull engineers who told him his RB18 was not the source of the smoke smell.

Houthis rebels from Yemen have claimed responsibility for a series of similar attacks on Saudi Arabia. The facility attacked is the same one which was also targeted in a similar incident just a few days earlier.

This latest safety threat led to many fans on social media calling for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to be cancelled. The race in already a controversial one, due to the kingdom’s record on human rights, sportswashing concerns and anti-gay laws, among other issues.

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