• Home
  • /
  • Motorsport
  • /
  • F1 Pushes Ahead With Saudi Arabia Race Despite Missile Strike

F1 Pushes Ahead With Saudi Arabia Race Despite Missile Strike

F1 Pushes Ahead With Saudi Arabia Race Despite Missile Strike
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
Share this article

F1 will go ahead with its race in Saudi Arabia this weekend, despite a missile strike hitting an oil depot less than 10 kilometres from the circuit.

The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association met for over four hours last night to deliberate on whether to race or not. Ultimately, they were convinced at 1:30am - but reports suggest there may have been some external pressure.

The missile strike and the ensuing fallout casts a cloud over what was already a dark weekend for Formula 1.

F1 Saudi Arabia: Race to go ahead despite safety threats

F1 made its first visit to Saudi Arabia last December, with the sport rightly coming under criticism for their promotion of the country.

The countless human rights issues in Saudi Arabia, as well as their ongoing military involvement in Yemen, led to suggestions that F1 was enabling “sports washing” of the Saudi regime.

The darkest moment of F1’s partnership with the country came on Friday. Ahead of the second practice session, a missile reportedly struck an Aramco oil depot nearby the circuit.

The second practice session was delayed as the facts of the situation were established.


After that practice session, the drivers met with team principals and the FIA to discuss their views on going ahead with the race weekend.

After that meeting, the drivers met away from the influence of other figures within the sport. Sky Sports report that the drivers were apprehensive about continuing the race weekend.

The statement from F1 which confirmed the race weekend would go ahead said that the sport’s authorities had been given “full and detailed assurances” about their safety at the track. What such assurances entail is still unclear.



Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff described the race track as “the safest place” in Saudi Arabia, and said that the team principals had unanimously agreed to go ahead with the race weekend.

Both Wolff’s comments, and the statement from the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, would suggest that the drivers were not happy to continue with the race, but were convinced to by external factors.


Alarmingly, there were suggestions that political pressure came on the drivers to finish out the race weekend.


BBC reports suggest that the drivers were warned of potential issues with exiting the country if they decided not to race.

Formula 1 has made questionable decisions when curating their race calendar in recent years.

Saudi Arabia is but one of the ethically rephrensible countries added to the sport’s calendar in the past decade, with races in Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Azerbaijan, and Russia taking place just last year.

Though plenty of the races on the calendar take place in questionable locations, the race in Saudi Arabia is arguably the worst of the lot.

Lewis Hamilton was among those who spoke up ahead of the race about the fire human rights conditions in the country.

The missile incident on Friday night was just another reason to make F1 fans uncomfortable with racing in Saudi Arabia.

Naturally, the reaction on social media was dictated by shock and horror at the decision to continue the race weekend amid such tense and dangerous conditions.

SEE ALSO: Ferrari Drivers Slam Safety Conditions At Saudi Arabian F1 Track

Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz Charles Leclerc
Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc Carlos Sainz criticise Jeddah track


Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are now subscribed!

Share this article

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com