Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Still on After Oil Facility Attack

Published March 27th, 2022 - 07:08 GMT
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Still on After Oil Facility Attack
Smoke and flames rise from a Saudi Aramco oil facility in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah, on March 25, 2022, following a reported Yemeni rebels attack. Yemeni rebels said they attacked a Saudi Aramco oil facility in Jeddah as part of a wave of drone and missile assaults today as a huge cloud of smoke was seen near the Formula One venue in the city. (Photo by AFP)

Organizers for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix said the auto race is expected to go on despite an attack on a nearby oil facility in Jeddah that Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for Friday.

A state-run Aramco oil depot about 6 miles east of the street circuit was engulfed in flames Friday evening. Saudi authorities said they brought the fire under control and no casualties were reported.

A military representative for Houthi rebels -- currently embroiled in a civil war against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government -- claimed responsibility for the missile attack.

Formula One drivers and team members met with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali on Friday, delaying the second practice of the day, ESPN reported. He said he was reassured by Saudi authorities about the safety of the event, The Guardian reported.

"We have received total assurances that, for the country, safety is first, no matter the situation -- safety has to be guaranteed," Domenicali said. "So we feel confident and we have to trust the local authority in that respect. Therefore, of course we will go ahead with the event."

The Saudi Motorsport Company confirmed the grand prix would go ahead as planned.

"We are aware of the attack on the Aramco distribution station in Jeddah earlier this afternoon and remain in contact with the Saudi security authorities, as well as F1 and [Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile] to ensure all necessary security and safety measures continue to be implemented to guarantee the safety of all visitors to the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as well as the drivers, teams and stakeholders," a statement from SMC said.


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