F1 bosses agreed the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix would go ahead after sessions lasted late into the night. The rocket attack arrived just a few kilometers from the Jeddah circuit
Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Ralf Schumacher has verbally condemned the decision to proceed with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix formula 1 should “pack and go”.
The Grand Prix weekend was rocked after a missile attack on a nearby oil facility in Jeddah during opening practice yesterday. The day continued with the second practice session, which was delayed as smoke plumes from the impact zone remained visible in the sky.
After extensive discussions between organizers and drivers, which lasted until late at night, It was eventually announced that the Grand Prix would go ahead as planned. However, it was reported by BBC Sport that drivers and teams have been “warned” of the consequences of not continuing the race.
With the agreement reached after the 2.30am local time attack, reactions were mixed given the circumstances. One voice who has strongly opposed the decision is commentator and former driver Schumacher, who said F1 should pack up and go.
“It’s only 20 km away,” he told Sky Deutschland. “You don’t really feel comfortable there. I’m really surprised what we’re still doing here. You should pack your things and leave such a country as soon as possible.”
Schumacher has reportedly left the country along with his German media colleagues. However, he acknowledged that walking away was easier said than done for Formula 1.
“First I have to clarify that I am an expert on Formula 1 and not on insurance stories or business,” he added. “I think the pressure on Formula 1 is enormous. A lot of money is paid and there is a long-term contract.
“Now the discussion is that the Saudi government says they will make sure it’s safe. That means the F1 can’t just pull the ripcord.
“I think that’s the problem. I have a clear opinion on this and have made my decision. But of course everyone has to do that for themselves.”
Saudi authorities said there were no casualties in the attack, but the incident fueled debate about the sport’s presence in the country in the first place. Much has been said about the country’s human rights record and seven-time world champions ahead of the Jeddah race Lewis Hamilton asked if he had any concerns about participating at an event in such a country.
According to a human rights organization, 97 people have been executed in the past two weeks and the British driver said he received a letter from a 14-year-old on death row. He added: “We don’t decide where we go but I think we have a duty to try and do everything we can while we’re here.
“It’s not necessarily our responsibility, but we’re trying and doing what we can. It’s important that we try to educate ourselves and make sure we do something with the little difference we can make.
“Ultimately it is the responsibility of those in power to make the changes and we are not really seeing enough. So we need to see more. I’m always up for a discussion and finding out why what should be happening isn’t happening. Look, it’s 2022 and it’s easy to make changes.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/formula-1/saudi-arabia-gp-missile-attack-26562319 F1 told Saudi Arabia to pack up and leave after race decision despite missile attack