(Jeddah) The Grand Arab Formula 1 race remained suspended after a long meeting between drivers over the opportunity to participate, following an attack launched by Yemeni Houthi rebels near the Jeddah circuit, and ended without an official announcement on Friday and Saturday nights.
Posted yesterday at 10:23 PM.
“It’s not for me to speak,” was convinced Britain’s George Russell, representative of the GPDA, when several team bosses confirmed to the media in attendance: “We’re going to race.”
Mexican Sergio Perez (Red Bull) later tweeted “Fully ready and focused on qualifying tomorrow (Saturday)”, implicitly confirming Sunday’s race decision.
After more than 4 hours of exchanges between them, with their team bosses and key championship leaders, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and sporting director Ross Brawn, the drivers broke up at around 2:20am local time, before leaving the circuit without explicitly stating their position.
But the duration of the meeting suggests that they were not convinced by the assurances of the authorities and the tournament organizers, which were issued a few hours after the attack on an oil site in Jeddah, which caused a massive fire and a black cloud. Visible smoke from the ring from free practice 1 at 5 p.m.
“The authorities have confirmed that the event can continue as planned,” the championship promoter, Formula 1, said in a press release issued a few minutes after Free Training 2, shortly after 9pm.
Then Stefano Domenicali, FIA President Mohamed bin Sulayem and local authorities received drivers and team leaders in an effort to reassure them.
“We have received full assurances that security is a priority for the country,” Domenicali explained to the media in particular after the first meeting.
“What are they (Houthis, editor’s note) aiming at? The economic infrastructure, not the civilians, not the arena. We have verified the facts and have high-level assurances that this place is safe,” bin Sulayem added.
The Houthis claimed responsibility for 16 attacks on Saudi Arabia on Friday, the eve of the seventh anniversary of the Riyadh-led military coalition’s intervention in Yemen to support the government in confronting rebels close to Iran.
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