The second round of the 2022 championship was overshadowed by a missile strike on an oil facility near the track on Friday. Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack.

It sparked talks between F1 bosses, teams and drivers on Friday night in Jeddah to discuss whether or not it is safe for the Saudi Arabian GP.

In the end, it was agreed that the grand prize should continue, with no further mishaps occurring.

The situation in Jeddah has prompted a wide-scale review of what happened by race bosses, as they draw up a plan to ensure there can be no repeat in the future .

Race chiefs have now met individually with all teams and drivers over recent races to discuss issues and ensure competitors are comfortable with Saudi Arabia’s response as preparations prepare. for 2023.

As part of ongoing discussions, Saudi Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal briefly attended the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend to take stock of progress.

Speaking to selected media including Motorsport.com, he said discussions with drivers and teams had been positive.

“We have spoken to them about the necessary steps that have been taken, working with F1 in particular, and our number one priority is safety for all,” he said.

Smoke in the skies of Jeddah

Picture by: Motorsport Images

“It’s not just around the track, but across the kingdom. Funnily enough, three days after that [attack], there was an announcement of a ceasefire. So I think with all the media coming in [to the race] and so on, it was a way of showing aggression and picking up the media there. But we were convinced that safety and security were there at the time.”

Prince Abdulaziz feels it is important there is an open discussion of anyone’s concerns in F1 as he admitted the race could have done more to talk to drivers and teams before.

“I think what we need to do more of is keep an open dialogue and open communication between us,” he said.

“For us it was even a learning curve, so maybe we didn’t contact a lot of teams and so on before the first race. We saw that it was necessary. [now]so we took that step.”

He added: “We know we have concerns about some issues. We’re not perfect and we never claimed we were. But at least we’re learning from our experiences and taking action. ‘improve in the future.’

Prince Abdulaziz said new safety measures would be taken for 2023 to make things even safer for the F1 community.

“We are working with F1 to ensure that any concerns from drivers, teams or individuals, even fans, that we make sure to address those concerns,” he said.

“We know it’s safe, but we need to explain what steps were taken. Over 4,000 troops were deployed to this event just to make sure [of that], because when these things happen, you are afraid that people who want to make things worse will notice. We have therefore made sure that no one affects the security of the event and the city.

“For us, safety and security is even more important than F1. It’s a nation, so it’s our number one priority. And we work with them.”

Track adjustments

Fans watch the start of the race from the balcony of the Paddock Club

Fans watch the start of the race from the balcony of the Paddock Club

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

In addition to tightening security around the venue, Saudi Arabia is to make minor changes to the Jeddah circuit barriers for 2023 to improve driver visibility.

“We are working with the FIA ​​and F1 to make some changes to the track,” added Prince Abdulaziz. “The route is the same but for safety reasons we will improve visibility.

“We also learned that the new car is more responsive on sidewalks, it was the same in Miami, so
we changed the borders for this from the first year.

“Since we finished race two we have been working constantly with the FIA ​​and F1 to make sure we arrive well prepared for the next race.

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