It was a night to remember for Formula 1 fans, with hours and hours of meetings (five, to be precise) that culminated in the decision to go ahead with the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. It was just after 3am when Stefano Domenicali, F1’s executive director, confirmed the news and gave explanations
All this against a backdrop of tension in the Middle East, with a missile attack on Friday afternoon on a facility belonging to Aramco, the Arab oil company that sponsors F1, just 20km from Jeddah. It has been leaked from the paddock that a similar incident in the next few hours would bring the Grand Prix to a standstill.
“We have received total assurances that, for the country, safety is first, no matter the situation – safety has to be guaranteed,” said Domenicali. “They [local officials] are here with their families, actually here at the track, so they have in place all the systems to protect this area, the city and the places we are going. “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.” FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has assured that the attacks are not aimed the F1.
“We had meetings with the head of security, and meetings with team principals and meeting with the drivers,” Ben Sulayem said. “And who are they targeting? They are targeting the infrastructure, not the civilians and not the track. “Of course, we checked the facts from them and we had assurance from them that this is a secure place, the whole place will be secure and let’s go on racing. “For sure all their families are here. We are only looking forward but with an assurance that nothing is going to happen.”