The Friday in F1 Saudi Arabian GP was more about the off-track happening than the on-track, with drivers unable to force a cancellation.
The Friday in F1 Saudi Arabian GP was marred by a drone attack in a nearby Aramco distribution facility towards the end of the FP1 session. There was an emergency meet before the FP2 session which delayed the running by 15 minutes.
At that time and also beyond that, it was assured that the Saudi Arabian GP will go on. In fact, there was a meeting after FP2 with the involvement of the FIA and the promoters. Both Stefano Domenicali and Mohammed Ben Sulayem assured of the race happening.
The meet was followed by the usual drivers’ briefing but the GPDA meeting with only the drivers stretched for hours beyond midnight in local time – where the initial meet started at 22:00 local. They also re-called both Domenicali and Ross Brawn to discuss.
After they left, the 10 F1 team bosses joined the GPDA meet and left together to discuss with Domenicali. With no Sebastian Vettel and Alex Wurz in Saudi Arabia, George Russell was the only director present, but he had support from senior members.
The meeting went for so long that drivers like Pierre Gasly, Alexander Albon, Haas/Ferrari duo, etc, remained in their overalls. The initial meeting which started at 22:00 local time got over finally at around 2:30 after midnight in Saudi Arabia.
Most of drivers left the area but Russell went to the Race Control to meet Domenicali and other F1 bosses. Despite the long meet, the outcome was the Saudi Arabian GP continuing as planned after assurances from the promoters and likely the Government.
While the ‘official’ word is still awaited but most in the paddock while leaving noted of the race being on. In fact, Sergio Perez’s Twitter stated, ‘Ready and totally focused for tomorrow’s qualy’. Other details about the meeting and or assurances remains unknown.
The race can still be cancelled but it will only be known closer to the sessions.
UPDATE: Following the extensive discussions, F1 released a joint statement noting that the Saudi Arabian GP will continue on as planned.
Joint statement on the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix pic.twitter.com/xsyYpvVmhB
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 26, 2022
GPDA statment: pic.twitter.com/mVbUnD49JL
— alex wurz (@alex_wurz) March 26, 2022