The Saudi Formula 1 race will go on despite a Houthi missile attack near the track
Houthi rebels attacked an oil depot in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah ahead of a Formula 1 race weekend in the country. Race organizers said this attack won't dispel plans to continue with the second-ever Jeddah Grand Prix.
The missile and drone attacks Friday targeted the Saudi Aramco oil facility in Jeddah. Pictures taken immediately following the attack showed huge balls of fire and smoke just miles from the Formula 1 venue.
According to the Associated Press, the attack targeted the same fuel depot Houthis had attacked in recent days. No injuries were reported.
Drivers continued to practice Friday night even as the smoke billowed in the distance.
The decision to race was made only after an hours-long meeting where several drivers shared serious safety concerns with organizers, according to reports.
The BBC saysa four-hour meeting was held involving drivers, team bosses, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, and other organizers to discuss those safety concerns. The report says drivers were convinced to continue on after those talks.
"F1 has been in close contact with the relevant authorities following the situation that took place today," Formula 1 said in a statement. "The authorities have confirmed the event can continue as planned and we will remain in close contact with them and all the teams and closely monitor the situation."
The conflict between Saudi Arabia and the Houthis goes back years after a Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen's war in 2015 to fight the Houthis, who receive support from Saudi's regional rival Iran.
The Jeddah Grand Prix is scheduled for Sunday.
Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.