During FP1, it was reported that an AMAMCO oil depot was attacked by Yemen rebels a mere 12km away from the track in Jeddah at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The drivers and team principals attended a drivers meeting in the evening where it was confirmed that the race would be going ahead, despite fans complaining about this decision.
One fan wrote the following on Twitter:
“I don’t understand how they care more about the money than the health of all the workers, drivers, mechanics, team, etc. they are all in danger!must leave that place right now.” (sic)
But after an article by the BBC which hinted that drivers were being kept in the country, fans were worried that the drivers were being blackmailed by the F1 and the government of Saudi Arabia. The article said the following:
“But eventually they were convinced to go ahead and race after being given further information by bosses.
“Part of this information involved the possible consequences of not racing, such as how easily teams and drivers would be able to leave the country if the race did not happen.”
Is this blackmail? They can not do this. This has to be a lesson for Formula 1, to consider the countries before they race in them. I hope this is the last we see of Jeddah. #SaudiArabianGP #formula1 pic.twitter.com/V10VQwPlA0
— Matthew Stanton (@MS05F1) March 26, 2022
— ً 📌 (@9onghyun) March 26, 2022
— Guy Arnel (@GuylArnel) March 26, 2022
These three tweets are three of hundreds of posts questioning what’s happened over the last day, and while during interviews before today’s qualifying, interviewees were adamant that the drivers were happy to race, fans still aren’t sure.