F1 drivers given ‘assurances’ Saudi Arabian GP is SAFE despite 16 ‘hostile attacks’ on Friday with one just 6 miles away

FORMULA ONE drivers have been given “assurances” from the Saudi government that this weekend’s GP is safe.

Aside from a visual presence of security staff, there are a host of defensive weapons in operation to keep those inside the track safe.

Houthi rebels can hit targets from inside YemenCredit: AFP

Drivers have been given “assurances” from the Saudi government that this weekend’s GP is safeCredit: GETTY

Smoke could be seen in the background during practice

Smoke could be seen in the background during practiceCredit: REUTERS

Drivers held a meeting late on Friday

Drivers held a meeting late on FridayCredit: REX FEATURES

A host of defensive weapons will be in operation to keep those inside the track safe

A host of defensive weapons will be in operation to keep those inside the track safeCredit: GETTY

Circuit bosses are understandably keeping quiet about what measures are in place to prevent a missile or drone attack, like that one that hit the fuel depot.

That was just one of 16 “hostile attacks” on Friday, nine of which were explosive-laded drones.

According to Middle Eastern website, Al-Monitor, since July 2018, when the Houthis attacked the Abu Dhabi International Airport, there have been over 100 drone attacks on airports and military facilities in the Middle East and North Africa.

The use of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have increased in accuracy and range, with many adaptable to be weaponised.

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The Sammad, a large Houthi-operated drone, can be fitted with a large warhead and has a range of 1,500 kilometres meaning Houthi rebels can hit targets from inside Yemen.

The Jeddah Cornish Circuit is understood to have a number of counter-unmanned aircraft systems (C-UAS) in the vicinity.

That works in conjunction with the Saudi Arabian Air Defense Forces’ “Peace Shield” radar, which is used to monitor the skies for incoming ballistic missiles.

There are a number of HAWK and Patriot defence missiles that are used to intercept incoming missiles and shoot them out of the sky.

Radio frequency jammers are also in operation with thermal imaging cameras also in operation.

On this weekend’s race, Haas boss Gunther Steiner said: “I think if the authorities have their own family here, and they feel safe, I can feel safe.

“We know the technical systems they’ve got in place. For me the assurance is if the authorities have got their own families here and they feel safe, I can be safe as well.

“They explained very credibly what is in place. The technical details, I am not in a position to explain that, because I’m not qualified enough. But there is stuff in place, which protects us, obviously. I’m not trained in that one.

“But the credible explanation of what they do, and that their families are here with them, that gives me the assurance that I’m safe. And that my team is safe.”

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