F1 teams told Saudi Arabian GP will go ahead after missile attack near circuit

2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 team principals and drivers have been told the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will go ahead following a missile attack on an oil plant near the circuit.

A large smoke cloud from the attack was first seen around 25 minutes into the opening practice session at Jeddah Corniche Circuit. An explosion occured and fire broke out at the North Jeddah Bulk Plant around 10 kilometres away from the F1 track.

The FIA confirmed the “Yemeni rebel group Houthi” had “claimed responsibility” for the attack. The facility which was hit is owned by Aramco which is a major sponsor of Formula 1 as well as the Aston Martin team. The fire continued to burn and was visible throughout F1’s second practice session, which was held after night had fallen.

Formula 1 issued a statement confirming the race will continue. “Formula 1 has been in close contact with the relevant authorities following the situation that took place today,” it said. “The authorities have confirmed that the event can continue as planned and we will remain in close contact with them and all the teams and closely monitor the situation.”

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem met with team principals and drivers ahead of the second practice session in Jeddah to update them on information provided by the Saudi authorities. Domenicali advised those present the race will go ahead as planned.

Teams were told the security arrangements are a priority for the race organisers. A further meeting between Domenicali and the team principals is expected to take place at 10pm this evening.

The start of the second session was delayed by 15 minutes following the meeting. “In the interests of the safety of all participants in the event, the stewards have modified the official programme for Friday, 25th March 2022, at the request of the organiser, by delaying the second practice session by 15 minutes,” the stewards noted.

The race’s organiser, the Saudi Motorsport Company, also confirmed in a statement the event will continue.

“We are aware of the attack on the Aramco distribution station in Jeddah earlier this afternoon,” it said, “and remain in direct contact with the Saudi security authorities, as well as F1 and the FIA, to ensure all necessary security and safety measures continue to be implemented to guarantee the safety of all visitors to the Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as well as all drivers, teams and stakeholders.

“The race weekend schedule will continue as planned. The safety and security of all our guests continues to be our main priority and we look forward to welcoming fans for a weekend of premium racing and entertainment.”

F1 drivers’ media sessions following second practice were cancelled. Qualifying for the Formula 2 races took place in between F1 practice. The top three qualifiers who spoke in the press conference afterwards said they had been unaware of the attack.

This article will be updated

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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83 comments on “F1 teams told Saudi Arabian GP will go ahead after missile attack near circuit”

  1. That looks like a cloud. I didn’t notice anything during FP1.

    1. There are videos on social media claiming to show the aftermath.

    2. Will Natalie Pinkham wear some posh designer camo?

  2. Media here reporting a strike from a terrorist group to an Aramco facility. It’s about 15km from the track. If this is true, I’m not sure if the race can go ahead.

    1. It was confirmed an attack took place, but honestly i don’t see them pulling out of the race.

      1. If it was a missile attack, I honestly can’t see how they won’t.

      2. I can’t imagine cancelling not being under serious consideration. It may well come from the teams because if it is indeed an attack the location is probably not a coincidence, meaning F1 being targeted to reach its audience.

    2. It’s Irresponsible to continue with this race.

      Lives ahead of Entertainment and Money.

  3. Apparently it’s an attack by freedom fighters on an oil facility.

  4. Why the World is not even making 10% the effort and noise to Stop the war between Saudi and Yamen as they are making for Russia and Ukraine?
    Saudi should be boycotted similarly for their offensive on Yamen.

    1. It’s a totally different situation. Yemen is a civil war and a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Ukraine is an invasion of a sovereign democratic country from a brutal dictator.

      1. in other words ‘because we choose to frame them differently’

        1. +-1000. Convenience over truth.

      2. It’s a totally different situation. Yemen involves Arabs with dark skin and brown eyes, Ukraine involves white European with Blue eyes.

        1. Thats the response/result when you forget about your identity as a human. You forget all those others are also human… History repeats itself one day and when you become the receiving end of it, you may find out what was wrong with this…

        2. So you associate with Ukraine? Verging on a fascist state, waging a war on it’s eastern territories since 2014 and their president has just banned opposition parties. Bit like Saudi Arabia actually…

        3. Gmacz, you Russian garbage will believe anything you are spoon fed by your boy.

        4. @darryn you know nothing of what you’re talking about, do you think the mess Arab countries are in is of their own making, sure those countries did and should own up to their own mistakes, but whenever an Arab country arises and choose it’s own destiny the US and Europe gets involved immediately.
          Look at Egypt, they democratically elected their own president only for the US to push for a coup by helping the military, of course it doesn’t matter as it happens thousands of miles away from you, and that the people impacted are less “civilized” than the Ukrainian people, and finally it doesn’t really jeopardies your own comfort of finances.
          Libyans tried to use a United African currency to stop the US arrogance and hegemony and look what happened to their country as well.
          The examples are endless.
          I feel really bad for the Ukrainian nation and it’s people, they’re paying the price for having a comedian president, who came after a coup with 0 political experience, and for being the tool of the US expansionism, but the truth that comes out of this conflict is again the same, the west is a predatory civilization with a double standards and a blatant hypocrisy, it doesn’t treat humans the same way and most importantly started it’s own countdown by it’s endless greed of power and unjust decisions, overall, the western civilization is morally bankrupt.

        5. Do your own research sonny boy instead of assuming your “Daily Mail” tells you the truth.

      3. There was a civil war in eastern Ukraine in last 8 years.

        1. It is a totally different situation as they always will say.
          Fake world and all the pretend anguish.

          1. It’s a totally different proxy war and Putin isn’t the title sponsor of F1.

      4. Yemen is under direct attack from S. Arabia, you talk nonsense. It involves tanks, jets, long range missiles etc. and some towns are completely destroyed. This war is even more cruel than the one in Ukraine, and it lasts much longer. Yes, very different. Difference is that this aggression is done with NATO weapons, mostly American, so that’s O.K. Sir, you should be ashamed of yourself.

        1. To show you how bad it is, the new U.S. administration even pulled back from supporting KSA in this war. And this is a proxy war against Iran. And the USA loves us some KSA oil. It’s a horrible humanitarian disaster and yes it’s worth talking about why no one really cares. No one is flying a Yemen flag in my neighborhood but a lot of people who probably never even heard of Ukraine before last month are sporting Ukraine flags on their front porches.

          Maybe the Ethiopian regime will next seek a sportswashing race.

    2. The Yemeni government was ousted by Iran-supported revolutionaries and Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of multiple countries against them.

      To say these are comparable would be like saying that Yanukovych was ousted by neonazis and Romania, Moldova, Poland, etc. are supporting Russia to bring the legitimate Ukrainian government back.

      1. Ludicrous, the Houthis had no meaningful relationship with Iran prior to the Saudi “intervention” in the ongoing civil war. And the Saudis “leading a coalition” brings no more legitimacy to their cause than it did when my country (USA) lead a coalition that destroyed Iraq and killed a million people.

        The Saudi Arabian military, with Western weapons, training, and money, has been blowing up school buses, hospitals and apartment buildings while starving half the population of Yemen to the brink of death. It is their war to end, and 1/10th of the international pressure that’s being brought to bear on Russia (and rightly so!) would force them to end it. Hamilton, Vettel et all should put their mouth where the money is and speak out on this, too.

        1. You bring up Iraq but did you remember that Iraq signed a legitimate international contract stating that “invasion” was a legitimate and legal recourse if they (Iraq) did not follow the rules set forth in the contract, then they (Iraq) did not follow the rules set forth in the contract?

      2. Bahrain 90 percent of the population don’t want the current government and they live under repressive conditions, but it is fine.

        1. Then they should do something about it. Themselves.
          I keep hearing the same thing about Afghanistan, that the population doesnt want them etc. But the evidence, ie their efforts to resist them, points to a completely different conclusion.

          History has shown again and again that enforced democracy doesn’t work. It has to develop from within.

          1. The Bahrainis did challenge the monarchy during the Arab Spring in 2011. The Saudis and the UAE intervened militarily on the side of the existing ruler and quelled the uprising.

            Unlike, Libya and Syria that would see Western interventions during the Arab Spring, the status quo would remain in Bahrain. It might just be coincidence that Bahrain hosts US and British naval bases and is an active member in the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen.

        2. OOliver, what exactly are you hoping to achieve though, and how prepared are you to deal with the consequences of your actions?

          If you want to get involved in the Yemen conflict, then the question becomes whom exactly are you wanting to support to form a government there? Do you support the Houthi backed Supreme Political Council, or the Hadi-run Cabinet of Yemen? Do you give any legitimacy to the Southern Transitional Council? How do you address the Hadhramaut Tribal Alliance, or deal with the Islamist terrorist organisations that have moved in to take advantage of the situation?

          If you’re recognising none of those bodies claiming to represent the legitimate government, what exactly is meant to come in their place and what are you prepared to do if those whom you have cut out of government don’t accept your solution? What happens if they were to retaliate with armed force? Would you then be prepared to take military action yourself, and get drawn into conflict as well?

          The Houthi movement itself is a rather fractured movement with many different parties that are mainly unified by their opposition to Hadi, with factions within it that would be seen as espousing views that you yourself would likely find abhorrent as well. The Saudi-backed regime are equally fractious and difficult to stomach for similar reasons – meanwhile, how do you deal with the more extreme elements that have become power brokers in the region due to the absence of a co-ordinated central authority?

          How prepared are you to talk with and to tolerate those factions that you might normally find abhorrent, but without whom no lasting solution is likely to be found? Is it that the conflict is being ignored, or is it a case that the answer is a more difficult one to accept – which is that nobody has an answer to the situation and most do not know how to even start working towards an answer, resulting in the conflict continuing because those outside are frozen into inaction by fear of making the situation worse?

          1. Oliver can obviously speak for himself but I believe he mentioned Bahrain. I appreciate your learning on the issue and laying out the issues in your view. I would say that the first step is to stop pouring lethal arms into the situation and then getting a consensus from outsiders to stop doing that. And then attempting to ply some form of diplomacy involving interested parties (KSA, Iran, etc) to get to a situation where everyone loses something and thus everyone wins. To this point, no one seems to be doing anything in Yemen but pouring gasoline on the fire.

          2. Then you might like to look at the astounding damage Yemeni nationals and those supporting the various factions within Yemen have undertaken in the West for no other reason than religious dogma!

            No offence here but the Cole, Twin Towers and a host of other actions can be linked to groups within Yemen whether masterminded by them or not.

            That is where the issue lies.

            Sometimes it would be nice if those with such predilections decided on a century they liked and stayed there instead of forcing it on others.

          3. Having said all that I doubt this is a bunch of whichever brand of terrorist in Yemen cobbling up a pile of out of date fireworks…

            I would almost warranty it’s a certain chap looking for a win who is causing a huge amount of upheaval in Ukrain – the one with the cancelled GP, etc etc

            Let’s ruin the Saudi race and disrupt any additional oil and gas that can be supplied to the West

      3. You parrot the Russian talking points perfectly. You would also make a great Trump supporter. Get on your knees and take your boy Putin in your mouth.

  5. Chemitrails on the ground, nothing to see! Just watch the magnificent Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, it will go with a bang!

  6. Hmmm…. First Bernie’s idea about sprinklers, now dodging terrorist missiles. What won’t the FIA do to spice up the “show” ;)

  7. Drivers are apparetly having a meeting in the paddock just prior to the start of FP2 to discuss this.

    1. Team bosses also joined them where they are been updated on the situation.

      1. I would hope if Seb wasn’t out of the race, he would take a similarly bold stand against racing which would allow others to ride his coattails. But since he isn’t there, is there anyone else in the paddock who has the intestinal fortitude to say what everyone is thinking about holding a race in these conditions?

        1. Hamilton? 🤣

          1. Please Share the joke.

            Yes Hamilton.

          2. Hamilton was the first one to say publicly that Formula 1 shouldn’t be racing in Australia in 2020 as Covid-19 was spreading. Everyone else in the teams was towing the FIA line that it would go ahead. The GP was soon after cancelled.

          3. Hamilton is both maligned for speaking out on issues and then maligned for not speaking out enough. He’s one man, and he has a busy day job.

  8. F1 shouldn’t be here.

    Sports washing at its finest.

    1. If F1 isn’t there what other way can you reward a leader for chopping up a journalist.

    2. Ideally they’d automatically cancel the race whenever the host country conducted mass executions.

  9. MBS makes that t w a t in Bahrain seem like George W Bush to Donald Trump. What a joke F1 is.

  10. Wouldn’t want to be driving a car with Aramco adverts. Maybe Vettel isn’t really sick?

    1. This was my thought as well.. he may be on the mend but is looking at the situation as not worth the flight to battle for some low points position in a region he’s expressed his viewpoints on previously. I can’t say I blame him.

  11. That picture encapsulates a lot about what’s wrong with the modern F1.

    1. @praxis Exactly my thoughts. I just hope we could catch an explosion on camera. That would be awesome.

  12. Firstly, I hope Claire stays safe in what is clearly a concerning situation.

    Secondly, it is beyond any doubt that the race should be cancelled. I expect we’re in for an Australia 2020 scenario, where F1 waits as long as possible before finally confirming what was inevitable all along. Saudi Arabia should never have hosted a Grand Prix in the first place, and we should not go back.

    1. I think you’re spot on.

      The more that is coming out, bit by bit, the more it’s becoming clear this race shouldn’t be going ahead.

      Organiser will give it every chance to happen and be seen to do everything they can to continue, but ultimately as details emerge and more and more prominent people raise their concerns publicly, it’ll likely be pulled at the 11th hour.

      1. Formula E also had a Missile strike near the track on there weekend and it whent ahead, that kinda set a precedent.

    2. With Saudi money involved, I doubt it even if it would be the most sensible thing to do.

      Moreover, Aramco is one of the 7 Global partners of F1, so there’s too much at stake for Sulayem and Domenicali.

      1. @matt88 Nothing’s more important than safety & everyone’s well-being, not even money.

        1. @jerejj my comment was not about what is preferred for me, but what is most likely to happen. I think that I was right, unfortunately.

    3. I agree with all that. But if F1 and the organizers decide to continue down this idiotic road, I hope that the drivers organize some sort of very public protest like the 2005 U.S. Grand Prix, where they refused to race in the most public way possible.

  13. The “show” must go on! Great look for F1. Hope this race is at night. Will be amazing.

  14. Whilst racing in a war zone may indeed attract more subscribers, I personally feel that F1 should consider placing human life over profit.

  15. Why do we need to race here? Especially with so many candidates to host a Grand Prix. Instead of extending the calendar, perhaps we should get rid of dubious Grand Prix first? I can think of a few…

  16. There are conflicts and conflicts. Things that sport should be united against and things that they can just turn the head around and pretend they are not happening.

    All the noise from the Russia situation got everyone involved, everyone had to say something. Yet for all the conflicts we see around the world, little is said. Talk about influencing people’s mind…

  17. I love formula 1.

    But the sport has become so corrupt and money grabbing. That’s the only reason it’s racing here.

  18. There’s not way this GP should continue. It was a missile attack very obviously intended to hit a target close to the GP to draw attention to the Yemeni conflict, which it has successfully achieved. Self-evidently Saudi Arabia cannot assure protection for the teams or those attending the GP. And if the race is being effectively targetted, as is clear, what assurance is there that the next missile won’t be aimed at the track. None at all.
    F1 should not be in Saudi Arabia full stop.

  19. To all of you easily naming dictators, rebel groups, who’s corrupted and who’s not, please stick to the sport itself. F1 is a sport and should be treated as one. It’s about unity, and bringing people together. Of all kinds. Not one single country of the calendar could claim itself saint. Especially and most of all Britain itself. But F1, like any other sport, can be a good way of overcoming obstacles. And the only way of doing so is by talking about the sport. Political analysis is made elsewhere. And if you want to be “active citizens” and have opinion, make yourself a favour and start reading some books. Because this world’s problems have its roots long before it could be televised…

    1. Absolutely, @petrucci. But F1 would be hypocrites to abandon the Russian GP due to their invasion of another country and then continue to race in Saudi Arabia who have … invaded another country.
      It’s a rod that F1 – including drivers let’s not forget – have made for their own backs.

    2. No!

      I understand your point and motives but you cannot ignore the politics of where sport takes place, and the motives behind regimes for hosting a Grand Prix or other event.

      Bear in mind F1 is as much as business as it is a sport.

      You cannot separate them.

      1. All I’m saying is that the world is far more complicated than choosing where to race and where not. And even though it was an ethical decision not to race in Russia, the decision itself is hypocritical. If one wants to see F1 in an ethical way, it has to be done in so many other occasions that it doesn’t.
        I prefer to ignore the politics behind F1 and see the positive side of making a GP in places that need a better future. That is where it matters most. Making 3 GPs in the US on the other hand, won’t make a difference at all.
        We’ve got plenty of other time if we want to talk about politics. F1 has the strength to bring it to the surface. But not try to judge or solve through it.

        1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
          26th March 2022, 4:11

          You say ignore politics, then you say F1 needs to be present in places that matters most that need a better future. And then you write “F1 has the strength to bring (I assume issues) it to the surface. Isn’t that entering the politic conversation? What do you mean by all this? I’m confused.

          Aside from F1 bringing additional commerce to many communities around the world (and increase of international travelers via teams and fans). I see no other perk behind a GP (outside of sport/entertainment). What sort of “difference” are you eluding to here?

          1. OK, since you ‘re missing my point, I ‘ll talk your way: Russia GP ban? What about the German GP and all the other EU countries that CURRENTLY pay Russia for natural resources and hence indirectly (but consciously) finance Russian army?
            What about Britain, who along France, is the main reason for most of today’s civil wars and military actions that take place in the middle East as well as the risk of a nuclear was between Pakistan and India (all caused by the way Britain suddenly moved away from its occupied colonies and irresponsibly divided the area by drawing lines on the map with total ignorance of cultures, religions etc)? What about the US who, being the largest military force the world has ever seen, invaded Iraq on void evidence (because nuclear weapons were never found and the UN had to say “sorry”), destabilizing the whole -and already- sensitive area that brought a missile yesterday 10km away from the track? Want to talk about Qatar? About Turkey maybe? We could be talking about ongoing genocides.
            So, are you really sensitive in politics and would like to talk about them THROUGH F1; Should F1 decide where to have a GP according to each county’s innocence? Or would you prefer to see F1 as a sport and talk about everything else outside of it, using it only as a platform that can raise awareness?
            My whole objection is on ignorant comments made about who’s bad and who’s not, we shouldn’t race here etc etc. To all of those the, where should F1 race really?
            If F1 doesn’t race in Saudi Arabia, that should be decided in safety terms, not political.

  20. I’m astonished F1 is in Saudi Arabia this week. Talk about sport-washing. MBS executed 81 men in a single day, some of them for doing no more than protest according to many news sources. The view is that he is stamping his authority while he can; oil is at a premium, he refused to take Biden’s call, and he killed all those men on the day Boris Johnson visited – rubbing his nose in it. Frankly, there isn’t a moral cigarette paper between Iran and Saudi. Along with Russia and China they really are the Axis of Evil, to borrow a phrase. And F1 visits 3 of the 4.

  21. Complete the headline…

    F1 teams told GP will go ahead after..

    Who could have predicted this.

  22. “I mean, money talks.”

  23. Ha?

    What are the chances of F1 driver dying from covid?

    What about cruise missiles that are hitting targets just a few km away?

    Funny how Russian GP was canceled right away.. But not Saudi Arabia who is bombing a neighbour night and day?

  24. F1 must be planning a street race in Kyiv as we type.

    Despicable decision for the race to go ahead. We race as one (except where the money is more important).

    1. “We race as one” is only intended to point out how important it is to raise up black people. It has nothing to do with any other race or nation.

  25. I noticed that Formula One has not currently got a highlights package for FP2 on its YouTube channel when it normally would. Disappointing that F1 seems to be trying to keep this as quiet as possible. F1 needs to report on what happens such as delays due to a nearby missile strike and this feels like censorship. As much as I love F1 racing the decision to go ahead and race is poor given there seems to be combat capability/potential in the area.

  26. In Formula One, getting hit by a cruise Missile,…..
    may end your race.- Will Buxton

  27. Maybe F1 will implement a new graphic like they do for rain.
    “Missiles expected in 15 minutes”

  28. F1 drivers’ media sessions following second practice were cancelled

    This is the most messed up part, trying to silence the drivers when they know criticism is coming. F1 should not have an us vs them approach to their drivers. It’s gross.

  29. This just underlines the fact that F1 shouldn’t be there in the first place – I’m in Canada and our governemnt happily sells arms to Saudi Arabia while blathering about the sanctitity of democracy elsewhere. It’s all so friggin vomitous.

  30. And now
    Saudi Arabia VS Russia
    protect of their people
    0 :1
    Kilometres from war
    10-15 Vs 500+
    and just a couple days ago a very nice young prince, finished the execution of 81 political prisoners just for the purpose of promoting the racing calendar (they managed to find some criminal there)…here and there he dissolved some political opponents in acid too
    And some guys (Human Rights Watch) obtained and analyzed court rulings for five of the 41 Shia men: Aqeel al-Faraj, Mortada al-Musa, Yasin al-Brahim, Mohammed al-Shakhouri, and Asad al-Shibr. All of their trials were marred with due process violations, including that in every case they had told the court that they suffered torture and ill-treatment during interrogations, and that their confessions were forcibly extracted….
    And we have Saudi GP….

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