The 2022 Saudi Arabian GP was marred by a missile strike by the Yemeni Houthi rebels on an Oil Depot run by Saudi Aramco. The depot was just six miles off the Jeddah corniche and occurred towards the end of the Free Practice one of the race weekends.
Before Free Practice 2 commenced, the start was delayed by 15 minutes and F1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali hosted an emergency meeting on Friday night alongside FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem to update everyone on the situation. All the Team Principals and drivers were present for the meeting and doubts grew on whether the race would be cancelled citing security issues.
But, after another set of meetings with Saudi Government officials, the race was given a green light and the event will go just as planned. The decisions were taken and both FIA, Formula One have released their statements backing their decision.
Read the statement by Grand Prix Drivers’s Association on 2022 Saudi Arabian GP
The Grand Prix Drivers Association is a union of drivers who race in Formula One meant to represent the say of all the racers. Following the major incident in Jeddah, the GDPA released a statement in which they have clearly taken a joint step to race in the 2022 Saudi Arabian GP after reassurances were given from the officials.
The statement read, “Yesterday was a difficult day for Formula One and a stressful day for us Formula One drivers. Perhaps it is hard to comprehend if you have never driven an F1 car on this fast and challenging Jeddah track, but on seeing the smoke from the incident it was difficult to remain a fully focused race driver and erase natural human concerns.”
It ruther read, “Consequently, we went into long discussions between ourselves, with our team principals, and with the most senior people who run our sport. A large variety of opinions were shared and debated and, having listened not only to the Formula 1 powers but also to the Saudi government ministers who explained how security measures were being elevated to the maximum, the outcome was a resolution that we would practise and qualify today and race tomorrow.”
“We, therefore, hope that the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will be remembered as a good race rather than for the incident that took place yesterday.” All the 20 drivers met last night, with their meeting coming to an end at 2:30 am local time. The decision to race was a collective decision will all the racers taking a vote to go ahead with the race weekend.