Formula 1 drivers were reportedly prohibited from speaking to the media in the wake of safety concerns after a missile attack on Jeddah.
Houthi militants launched an attack on an Aramco oil facility around seven miles from the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Friday, prompting the drivers to convene for almost five hours after the second practice session to discuss the situation.
The general consensus was that a lot of them felt as though the safety of everyone in the paddock was jeopardised, but following the meeting, Formula 1 bosses confirmed to the media that the weekend would continue as scheduled.
“Following the widely reported incident that took place in Jeddah on Friday, there has been a extensive discussion between all stakeholders, the Saudi government authorities and security agencies who have given full and detailed assurance that the event is secure,” read a joint statement by Formula 1 and the FIA.
The drivers cancelled their media commitments in the wake of the violence that had taken place just a 15-minute drive from the circuit.
It has now been claimed that F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali prevented the drivers from speaking to the media on the subject.
“Stefano Domenicali made sure Hamilton was not allowed in front of the microphones,” read a report by Finnish tabloid newspaper Iltalehti.
Upon returning to the circuit on Saturday after hours of deliberations the night before, Williams CEO and team principal Jost Capito affirmed that he feels “safe.”
“If I didn’t feel safe, then I wouldn’t feel safe for the whole team because I have the responsibility for the whole team,” he told Sky Germany.
He reiterated that the drivers share the same view as the teams in that they feel secure at the circuit, and the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association [GPDA], headed by George Russell, acknowledged the “elevated” security at the racetrack.
“There was no discrepancy between the drivers and the teams. I think it’s right to drive here this weekend because we’re all here. If not, it should have been discussed beforehand,” Capito added.
CarandDriver.com journalist Dimitris Bizas said that he was “more than reluctant” to believe that the team bosses would have stuck by their drivers had they boycotted the race.