Drivers still locked in lengthy Saudi Arabian Grand Prix discussions

Team bosses agreed to carry on with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but the drivers it seems have not reached such a decision yet.

Serious question marks over the continuation of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix emerged on Friday, with news of a suspected missile attack on a nearby Aramco oil refinery breaking during practice.

Smoke could be seen in the sky from the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, with flames visible once night fell.

As F1 bosses met before the start of FP2, the session was delayed by 15 minutes, but it did commence and was completed before further discussions took place after the session.

With the team bosses all in agreement and the safety of all those at the track assured, it was confirmed that the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will continue as planned.

So the drivers actually are in their own meeting now after the team bosses gave their unanimous stance to carry on.#F1 #SaudiArabianGP

— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) March 25, 2022

But, this was followed by a meeting with the drivers, which was nowhere near as swift.

Formula 1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali was called in to get involved with proceedings. Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell could be clearly seen from the pictures.

This is turning out to be a very lengthy driver meeting. #F1 CEO Domenicali was called in half way through. #SaudiArabiaGP

— Motorsport Week (@MotorsportWeek) March 25, 2022

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was on the scene too speaking with Hamilton.

Lewis and Pierre at the drivers meeting.

— soph (@sophwebsterxx) March 25, 2022

From there further reinforcements arrived as Ross Brawn, Formula 1’s managing director entered the room.

Ross Brawn has now joined. We get the feeling management are trying to convince the drivers to go ahead with the race #F1 #SaudiArabiaGP

— Motorsport Week (@MotorsportWeek) March 25, 2022

The meeting rolled on past midnight, with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso sharing his thoughts with the rest of the drivers.

Looks like @alo_oficial has joined @LewisHamilton to make the points now #SaudiArabiaGP #F1

— FormulaNerds 🤓🏁 (@Formula_Nerds) March 25, 2022

With a large media presence outside of the meeting room, after 150 minutes of talks, Brawn and Domenicali left, but the drivers have carried on with discussions as the clock ticked past 0100 local time.

Domenicali and Brawn have just left… #F1 #SaudiArabiaGP

— Motorsport Week (@MotorsportWeek) March 25, 2022

Remember the whole team bosses were ready to carry on stuff? Well, the situation shifted again as they returned to the meeting.

Red Bull principal Christian Horner could be seen heading back in.

Team bosses still at the track are now showing up…This has taken a turn.

— Scott Mitchell (@SMitchellF1) March 25, 2022

Poor Mattia had probably nodded off by the time the call came for him to return to the track.

Binotto had actually left the track but is now back. All the team principals had agreed to race this weekend in a meeting earlier today with F1 and FIA bosses. It is clear that not all drivers are comfortable racing. #F1

— Bec Clancy (@becclancy) March 25, 2022

As the clock ticked past 0200am local time in Jeddah, the team principals left the meeting again to head for Race Control, while the drivers stayed put.

Salen los directores de equipo y se van todos juntos a dirección de carrera. Quedan pilotos solos.

All team principals leave the meeting. They go all together to race control. Drivers alone again. #F1 #Jeddah

— Albert Fabrega (@AlbertFabrega) March 25, 2022

Eventually, as it had seemed was the case, it became clear that the drivers were not on the same page as their team bosses and were not, as a group, comfortable about going racing.

Whatever the outcome, this is a remarkable stand from the drivers. They are making F1 and their team bosses know they are not happy #F1 #SaudiArabianGP

— Chris Medland (@ChrisMedlandF1) March 25, 2022

More to follow…


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