September 26, 2023

Brighton Journal

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Saudi Arabia Grand Prix still running after risk of Formula 1 driver boycott

Jonathan Noble

After an intense day caused by a missile attack by the Houthi armed political movement (known as the Houthis) on an oil facility near the Jeddah track during the first free exercise, The fate of the race hung in the balance late Friday Drivers are concerned about the situation.

During the lengthy talks spanning more than four hours, the drivers spoke with senior Formula 1 figures and team managers to express their concerns about matters.

First, Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali and Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn were called to the drivers’ meeting, before team principals were then asked to attend. The team bosses then had further follow-up talks with Domenicali as the drivers continued their discussions which lasted until around 2.20am.

And while there was a possibility that the drivers might choose not to compete because they were unhappy with the situation, sources with good knowledge of the discussions say their concerns were eventually addressed.

It is not clear exactly what assurances the drivers were given, and what information they requested, but it is understood that the drivers eventually agreed to race.

Stefano Domenicali, CEO of Formula 1, and Mohamed bin Sulayem, president of the FIA, leave the media center

Photography: Carl Bingham / motorsports pictures

The unprecedented discussions with the drivers came after Domenicali reassured the team bosses about security guarantees at the Jeddah site. He said F1 was happy to continue racing Because of the promises made to her by Saudi officials.

“We have been given full assurances that safety is paramount for the country, no matter the situation – safety must be ensured,” he said. “they [local officials] Here with their families, actually here on the track, so they have all the regulations to protect this area and the city and the places we go.

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So we feel confident and we have to trust the local authority in this regard. So of course we will go ahead with this event.”

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