Lewis Hamilton was a notable dissenter as other Formula 1 drivers said they were happy to race in Saudi Arabia again following the missile strike which occured nearby during last year’s race weekend.
An oil plant 10 kilometres from the Jeddah Corniche Circuit was struck by a missile during the first practice session for last year’s race. The event went ahead following a crisis meeting between drivers and the series bosses which ran late into the night before qualifying.
During today’s FIA press conference several drivers said they were satisfied with the arrangements put in place for them to race in Saudi Arabia this weekend. “We trust FOM and the organisation to keep us safe,” said Esteban Ocon.
“Obviously it was scary what happened last year and none of us wants to ever experience something like that. But we trust everybody around to put us in a safe situation to race.”
Sergio Perez said he was “happy to be back” in Jeddah. “As a sport I think we are able to also help the country to evolve for the people that live here. So this is something that as a sport we can be proud of.
“In the other hand we also fully trust the organisations that bring us here to compete in a safe place.”
However Hamilton dissented from the views expressed by his fellow drivers in the same session. “Not much really to add,” he said. “All the opposite really to everything they said.”
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The seven-times world champion said he left his comments “open to interpretation”. Asked whether he was concerned about his safety on the track or in the region, Hamilton said: “I don’t want to get into either.
“Hopefully everyone has a safe weekend and hopefully everyone gets home safe after this. That’s as much as we can do.”
This weekend’s event in the third in a 15-year deal F1 has to race in Saudi Arabia. Speaking in another session, other drivers said they were satisfied with the reassurances they’ve been given about their safety while visiting the country.
“I’m happy we’re racing here,” said Lando Norris. “I think Formula 1 and what we’re doing as a sport is a good thing so I’m not worried about anything.”
Carlos Sainz Jnr said F1 and the authorities have “given us enough reassurances and enough explanations to say that we are in a safe place right now.
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