The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association has issued a statement explaining how they arrived at the decision to continue the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix following yesterday’s missile strike.Jeddah Corniche Circuit during yesterday’s first practice session by insisting the event would go ahead. Team principals indicated they supported the decision unanimously.
However the drivers remained in a meeting at the circuit discussing the event until the small hours of the morning. Several of their team principals returned to join the discussion. As the meeting broke up the consensus appeared to be that the event would continue, despite the concerns that had been aired.
GPDA chairman Alexander Wurz issued a statement on behalf of the group saying the drivers had “natural human concerns” over the attack. They aired “a large variety of opinions” in their meeting but agreed the event will go ahead.
“Yesterday was a difficult day for Formula 1 and a stressful day for us Formula 1 drivers,” said the GPDA statement. “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.
“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 practice 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.”
The F1 and the FIA issued a further statement at noon in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, promising to keep an “open dialogue” over the race.
“Following discussions with all the teams and drivers, the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will continue as scheduled,” it said.
“Following the widely reported incident that took place in Jeddah on Friday, there has been extensive discussion between all stakeholders, the Saudi government authorities and security agencies who have given full and detailed assurances that the event is secure.
“It has been agreed with all stakeholders to maintain a clear and open dialogue throughout the event and for the future.”
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