Saudi GP practice delayed after missile strike near track - The Race
Formula 1

Saudi GP practice delayed after missile strike near track

Mar 25 2022
By Scott Mitchell-Malm

Formula 1’s second practice session for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was delayed after a missile from Yemen’s Houthi rebel group struck an Aramco facility close to the Jeddah circuit on Friday, beginning 15 minutes later than scheduled.

Images of a huge fire at a nearby oil refinery emerged during opening practice in Saudi Arabia and thick, dark grey smoke was visible from the circuit.

The attacked site is believed to be North Jeddah Bulk Plant operated by Aramco, a sponsor of both F1 and the Aston Martin team, and located around six miles from the circuit.

The Houthis claimed a “batch of winged missiles” and drone attacks were launched at various sites.

Further strikes have been threatened. A statement from a Houthi military spokesperson said: “Armed Forces will not hesitate to expand military operations until US-Saudi aggression stops and the siege is lifted.”

It remains unclear what the impact will be on the grand prix but the start of FP2 was delayed by 15 minutes.

Drivers and team figures were summoned to a meeting senior F1 officials – including FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali at the scheduled start of second practice. A further meeting is planned for 10pm local time, three quarters of an hour after practice two will finish.

F1 said it was awaiting information from authorities while the FIA had no information to share when approached by The Race.

This Saudi-Houthi conflict is in its eighth year although the background to the war stretches back much further and is influenced by direct and indirect involvement from other countries.

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