This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
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Saudi Arabian GP future under scrutiny as F1 drivers hold talks
2022 race went ahead despite security concerns.
This yearâ€™s Grand Prix was in doubt following nearby missile attack
Drivers were ready to withdraw before being talked round
F1 has ten-year deal worth â€˜US$650mâ€™ to race in Saudi Arabia
Formula One drivers will hold further talks over the future of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, as questions continue over the viability of the race.
A missile attack on an oil refinery near the Jeddah circuit put the 2022 Saudi Grand Prix in serious doubt. After an extraordinary four-hour meeting on 25th March, drivers were ready to withdraw, only to be talked round by series bosses following assurances from Saudi authorities.
The drivers are now set to meet with Formula One to discuss the future of the race. According to PA Media, discussions will take place via a virtual call in the coming days or in-person at the Australian Grand Prix on 10th April.
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was among those relieved this yearâ€™s race in Saudi Arabia was over.
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â€œI am so happy the weekend is done and I am also just so happy that everyone is safe. I am looking forward to getting out,â€� he said.
This yearâ€™s race winner Max Verstappen also expressed concerns over a return to Saudi Arabia in 2023.
â€œWe had a lot of guarantees that of course it would be safe but, after this weekend all the drivers together, we will speak with F1 and the team bosses to see what is happening for the future,â€� Verstappen said.
Formula One is in only the second year of its ten-year contract with the kingdom, which is reportedly worth US$650 million. The series continues to be criticised for staging a race in Saudi Arabia given the countryâ€™s human rights record.
In addition to the Grand Prix, Saudi Arabia managed to further deepen its ties with Formula One when the state-owned oil company Aramco signed on as a global partner of the series in March 2020. The ten-year deal is reportedly worth more than US$450 million.
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