F1 confirms Saudi Arabian GP to go ahead despite Jeddah attack

F1 confirms Saudi Arabian GP to go ahead despite Jeddah attack

Formula 1's Saudi Arabian GP is continuing as planned despite an attack on an oil depot close to the Jeddah circuit, with Stefano Domenicali insisting they have received "total assurance" about safety from authorities.

An Aramco oil depot - around seven miles from the track - was set ablaze during first practice in Saudi and a large black smoke cloud could be seen from the F1 track. Yemen's Houthis rebels have claimed responsibility for a barrage of attacks on the kingdom.

Practice continued as normal, though there was a 15-minute delay to the start of second practice as drivers and team principals met with F1 president Domenicali and the FIA's Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

There was another meeting following P2, which was also attended by a Saudi delegation, after which the F1 and FIA chiefs emerged at 10:40pm local time and confirmed the Grand Prix would be going ahead.

We have received total assurance of the country's safety first," said Domenicali. "They have placed all the systems to protect this area. So, we feel confident that we have to trust the local authority in that respect. We will of course go ahead with the event."

Ben Sulayem added that attackers were "not targeting the track".

"We had meetings with the high level security then we had meetings with the team principals and the drivers," the FIA president said. "And to assure you that, they are targeting the infrastructure of the economy not the civilians and, of course, not the track.

"Of course we have checked the facts from them and we have had the assurance from the high authorities of the safety here and let's go racing.