Formula 1 officials are allegedly keeping an eye on the situation in Saudi Arabia after a missile strike on the city of Jeddah, which is set to host the next grand prix.
According to reports from Reuters, Saudi state media announced on Sunday that the Saudi-led coalition operating in Yemen intercepted and destroyed a “hostile air target” aiming towards the Red Sea city of Jeddah.
This comes after Yemen’s Houthi organization, which is affiliated with Iran, assaulted an Aramco distribution plant in Jeddah, launching missiles and drones at Saudi energy and water desalination facilities in the Jizan region. According to Al Arabiya English, the Arab Coalition has destroyed 106 explosive-laden boats.
The Sun reports that the sport’s bosses are “watching the situation” ahead of the second round of the F1 2022 schedule in Jeddah this weekend.
The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was first added to the Formula 1 schedule in 2021, however it was met with opposition.
On the other hand, Human rights activists contended that the government did not deserve to host the race, and some drivers were said to be apprehensive about the country’s human rights record.
F1 president Stefano Domenicali stated that he believes the race will actually assist to solve the issue and that “shutting out” countries is not appropriate.
Formula 1 drivers allegedly discussed human rights with Saudi Arabia GP race promoter Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Faisal at the British Grand Prix. They also protested that the high-speed course was unsafe, so the controversies were not just off-track.
Before the season’s decider in Abu Dhabi, Lewis Hamilton beat Max Verstappen to draw level on points, but five drivers retired from the race, including George Russell, who insisted racing “had a lot to learn” in terms of safety.
The concerns now seem to have initiated action, as race organizers have implemented measures to improve safety. The barriers at Turns 2, 3, 14, and 21 have all been moved back 1.5 to 2 meters, and the track at Turn 27 has been enlarged.
Following the opening round in Bahrain, where Ferrari scored a one-two finish for the first time since Singapore 2019, Formula 1 heads to Saudi Arabia.
Max Verstappen of Red Bull appeared to be on his way to separating leader Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, but he and teammate Sergio Perez both lost power, leaving Red Bull with zero points headed to Saudi Arabia.