Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to go ahead after oil depot attack near Jeddah circuit

"We have received total assurance of the country's safety first," F1 president Stefano Domenicali said

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Formula One has confirmed the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will go ahead despite yesterday’s missile attack on a fuel depot near the Jeddah Circuit.

F1 President Stefano Domenicali said they received “total assurance of the country’s safety first,” in a statement released this morning.

Following the attack, which led to black smoke billowing across the racing track, F1 drivers and team bosses met for emergency talks to discuss the safety of the event.

Discussions continued into the early hours of this morning until 2:30 am, as it was suggested some drivers wanted to boycott the race.

A view of a fire at Saudi Aramco's petroleum storage facility, in Jeddah
A view of a fire at Saudi Aramco's petroleum storage facility, in Jeddah
Smoke billows from a Saudi Aramco's petroleum storage facility after an attack in Jeddah
Smoke billows from a Saudi Aramco's petroleum storage facility after an attack in Jeddah

In a joint statement on Saturday morning, F1 and its governing body, the FIA, confirmed the Grand Prix will go ahead after “full and detailed assurances that the event is secure”.

The oil depot, around 12 miles from the track and owned by F1 sponsor Aramco, caught fire during first practice. The blaze continued late into Friday evening.

The Saudi Arabian authorities say there were no casualties from the attack.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during practice at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during practice at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

A joint statement released ahead of qualifying on Saturday read: “Formula One and the FIA can confirm that following discussions with all the teams and drivers, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will continue as scheduled.

“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.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner insists the sport won't be bullied by "any act of terrorism".

Speaking to Sky Sports he said: "The sport has to stand together collectively. Any act of terrorism shouldn't be condoned and sport shouldn't be bullied into a position. A situation like that just isn't acceptable."

"Stefano and the president are dealing with it. There's all the assurances from the organisers and we will be going racing."

The al-Masirah satellite news channel run by Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed they had attacked an Aramco facility in Jeddah. The same fuel depot, 12 miles to the east of the track, was attacked last Sunday.

Today, a third practice is scheduled to begin at 2pm with qualifying set for 5pm. The race will take place at 6pm on Sunday, March 27.