The Saudi Arabian Formula 1 Grand Prix continues, at least for the moment, despite the attack this Friday with missiles and drones on the refinery that the Aramco oil company has in Jeddah, less than 20 kilometers from the Corniche Circuit, headquarters of the career. The offensive, which took place shortly before the start of the first free trials, at 6:00 p.m., was claimed shortly after by the Houthi rebels from Yemen, who also attacked the Rabigh and Ras Tanura facilities, both far from the track. This assault is the latest the Houthis have carried out this week in Jeddah, where authorities at the King Abdulaziz International Airport were forced to reschedule several flights. It so happens that Aramco is, since 2020, one of the main sponsors of the event and from this course also of the Aston Marton team.
In the meeting held by the promoters of the championship and the local organizers, with representatives of the teams and the drivers, and which forced the start of the second training session to be delayed by a quarter of an hour, it was concluded that the events and the Sunday race will continue. F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali was then joined by Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA).
“We have received full guarantees that, for the country, security comes first and has to be guaranteed. They [los funcionarios locales] they are here with their families; in fact, they are here, in the circuit. So they have all the necessary systems to protect this area, the city and the places we go to”, agreed Domenicali, in an impromptu meeting with the media. “In that sense, we trust the local authority, so we will go ahead with the event,” added the Italian executive.
Ben Sulayem, for his part, stressed that the Houthis’ targets are infrastructure, not civilians. “This is probably the safest place you can be in Saudi Arabia right now. That is why we keep running”, added Toto Wolff, director of Mercedes, who for the first time in a long time agreed on something with Christian Horner, his counterpart at Red Bull: “No act of terrorism can be tolerated. Sport should not be intimidated by a situation like this; It’s just not acceptable.”
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