The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was in the news for all the wrong reasons on Friday after terrorists launched a missile attack at an oil facility that was located 12 miles away from the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
The incident occurred during FP1 following which, a long meeting between the team principals, drivers and officials took place and went on until early next morning. The drivers had to be convinced to continue with the race weekend. all parties were addressed and necessary assurances were given. Ultimately, the event went on as planned.
Saudi Arabia has also been in the news for reports of human rights violations. Despite the incident, reports suggest that Formula 1 have no plans of ending their contract with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton admitted that he could not wait to get home after the incident while his former Mercedes team- mate Valtteri Bottas declined to comment, though he had earlier revealed that drivers did discuss options like ‘not racing’.
The administration in Saudi went to great lengths in assuring that all concerns will be addressed of those travelling to the event. Saudi Arabia’s minister for sport, His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal said “We haven’t got into the details yet, but we are open to discussions,” as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“We are open to sit down, see where the issues are, what the assurances are they need.
“Whatever they want, we are here to host F1 as best as it can be anywhere in the world.
“So we will definitely have an open discussion with them to see what their feedback is, to discuss with them and see what their concerns are about. We will show them everything.”
The minister strongly feels that the presence of F1 in the country could bring about a positive change in improving the image of Saudi Arabia.
“We are here for a long-term partnership for a reason because we see where we are going,” he said.
“We want to grow with the sport. We know the importance of F1 and we want to be part of the international community. We want to be present. We want everyone to come to Saudi Arabia and feel as if they are going anywhere else in the world.
“These issues unfortunately do happen, they happen everywhere in the world and we have to deal with them in the best possible way.”
However, whether or not the drivers would be comfortable participating in the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is something we’ll have to wait and watch out for.