Despite an attack on a nearby fuel depot during practice, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will take place on Sunday, according to Formula 1 officials.

As seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and his fellow drivers competed in the opening race of the weekend, black smoke billowed across the Jeddah circuit.

Over the radio, world champion Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull crew that he could smell burning. “I smell a bit of a burning feeling,” he said. “I am not sure if it is my car, or another car.”

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed to have assaulted an Aramco plant near Jeddah, according to the al-Masirah satellite news program. On Sunday, the same gasoline storage, 20 kilometers east of the railroad, was attacked.

When a brief delay, second practice began at 8.15pm (5.15pm Irish time) after F1 chief Stefano Domenicali summoned the drivers and team principals for a crisis meeting.

Shortly after the conference, race organizers said that the grand prix, which will be just the second to be held in Saudi Arabia, will take place 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 the FIA 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 the Saudi Motorsport Company read.

“The race weekend scheduled will continue as planned. The safety and security of all our guests continues to be our main priority and we look forward to welcoming fans for a weekend of premium racing and entertainments.”

An F1 spokesperson added: “Formula One has been in close contact with the relevant authorities following the situation that took place today.

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