Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal has assured Formula One that they are prioritizing safety concerns for next season’s Grand Prix, as last year’s event was vitiated by the missile attack near the Jeddah track.
The attack during the practice sessions was claimed to have been carried out by the Houthi Rebel. This precarious situation was followed by hours-long meetings to decide whether or not the race would proceed. Although, at the end, the race continued, but safety issues remained a prime concern for next season’s GP at Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
The F1 officials are already in discussion with the teams and the drivers to ensure if they are comfortable with the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. To address such concern over this issue, Prince Abdulaziz participated the Singapore Grand Prix and offered an update on the issue.
He emphasized that their first and foremost priority should be everyone’s safety on the track as well as around the kingdom. The minister speculates that the incident was solely an aggressive showdown by the perpetrators to garner the attention of the media, as the attackers proposed a ceasefire only three days after the race.
“I think what we need to do more is keeping an open dialogue and an open communication between us,” the minister stated. “For us even it was a learning curve, so maybe we didn’t reach out to a lot of the teams and so on before the first race. We saw that that was necessary [now], so we took that action. ”
Prince Abdulaziz has also admitted that they have flaws. Nonetheless, they are taking the time to reflect on their acts and learn from their mistakes. To make things safer, they would take security measures for the 2023 Grand Prix.
As new cars are more sensitive on the kerbs, they have modified the kerbs to ensure the drivers’ safety, while making certain changes to the tracks with the FIA and F1. This includes minor modifications to the barriers to improve drivers’ visibility to reduce the possibility of any unforeseen casualties.
The minister assured, “We have been working since we finished the second race constantly with the FIA and F1 to make sure we come to the next race well prepared.”