The second practice session of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was delayed as the teams met to discuss a fire at the Aramco oil depot.
Regulators delayed the second practice session of the day by 15 minutes as the drivers and their team principals were gathered together and briefed on the news of the fire at the oil facility.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali called an emergency meeting in the Jeddah paddock to discuss the issue and F1’s response.
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Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the fire, reported the Associated Press, for what is thought to be a drone attack 22 kilometres away from the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
A military spokesman for the Houthi rebels said - added Reuters - the organisation claimed responsibility for an attack on Aramco's facilities, which have been hit with missiles, and the Ras Tanura and Rabigh refineries with drones.
"We are aware of the attack on the Aramco distribution station in Jeddah earlier this afternoon and remain in contact with the Saudi security authorities, as well as F1 and the FIA to ensure all necessary security and safety measures continue to be implemented to guarantee the safety of all visitors to the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as well as the drivers, teams and stakeholders," said a statement from the Saudi Motorsport Company.
"The race weekend scheduled will continue as planned. The safety and security of all our guests continues to be our main priority and we look forward to welcoming fans for a weekend of premium racing and entertainments."
As the cars took to the circuit for the first practice, black smoke could be seen drifting into the sky as a result of a large fire at a facility of oil company Aramco, near the Jeddah International Airport.
The incident has heightened safety concerns in the city.
An F1 statement said: "The position at the moment is that we are waiting for further information from the authorities on what has happened."
Security at the track has been bolstered for the weekend, it is understood.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen had said he could smell ‘burning’ while navigating the first session.
Verstappen said on the team radio: "I smell a bit of a burning feeling. I am not sure if it is my car, or another car."
The Red Bull team engineers responded that his car was not the source of the smell.
The practice session was not affected and, along with the qualifying session for the F2 support race, was completed as normal.
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