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FIA and F1 release statement as Saudi Arabia GP goes ahead after Jeddah explosion

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THE FIA and Formula One have now confirmed they are pushing ahead with the Saudi Arabian GP – despite clear safety concerns following a significant explosion after a missile attack in Jeddah on Friday. Yemen’s Houthi rebels have reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack just nine miles from the track as officials and team bosses were called in for meetings, as thick black smoke billowed in the distance.

Yet following safety assurances from the Saudi government, F1 chiefs have now confirmed that the race will take place – something that was communicated to the drivers and their teams in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A statement read: “Following the widely reported incident that took place in Jeddah on Friday, there has been extensive discussion between all stakeholders, the Saudi government authorities and security agencies who have given full and detailed assurances that the event is secure.

“It has been agreed with all stakeholders to maintain a clear and open dialogue throughout the event and for the future.”

The grid’s 20 drivers spent nearly five hours in meetings after practise and talks continued right up until around 2:30am local time in Saudi Arabia.

Some drivers are understood to have raised concerns over their safety, urging the FIA to strongly consider the prospect of postponing the race.

However, following extensive consultation, the decision was made to continue following reassurances of extra security this weekend at The Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association have also issued the following statement: “Yesterday was a difficult day for Formula One and a stressful day for us drivers.

“On seeing the smoke from the incident it was difficult to remain a fully focused race driver and erase natural human concerns.

“We went into long discussions between ourselves, with our team principals, and with the most senior people who run our sport. A large variety of opinions were shared and debated.

“Having listened not only to the Formula 1 powers but also to the Saudi government ministers who explained how security measures were being elevated to the maximum, the outcome was a resolution that we would practise and qualify today and race tomorrow.”

F1 sponsor Aramco are understood to own the site subject of the attack at the North Jeddah Bulk Plant which stores diesel, gasoline and jet fuel.

Reports have since claimed it’s accountable for over a quarter of Saudi Arabia’s fuel supplies.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, president of the FIA, has clarified that the offenders were not targeting the FQ track.

“We had meetings with the high-level security then we had meetings with the team principals and the drivers,” the FIA president said.

“And to assure you that, they are targeting the infrastructure of the economy not the civilians and, of course, not the track.”

Stefano Domenicali, who briefed the media from the paddock in Jeddah, offered safety assurances following talks with the Saudi government.

“We have received total assurance of the country’s safety first,” said Domenicali.

“They have placed all the systems to protect this area. So, we feel confident that we have to trust the local authority in that respect. We will of course go ahead with the event.”



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Ruud van Nistelrooy makes next job decision as Man Utd plan coaching appointment

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That decision failed to pay off, however, with the Red Devils sacking Moyes after just 10 months in charge.

After the current West Ham boss came Van Gaal, who arrived with big things expected due to his past success at the likes of Barcelona and Ajax.

Giggs was hoping to get the Red Devils job himself, which was why he stayed, but both ended up leaving nearly six years ago.

When Jose Mourinho took over, he opted to maintain his close relationship with Rui Faria – who had previously worked under him at clubs such as Real Madrid and Chelsea.

Fair departed in the summer of 2018, though, with Michael Carrick then given a place on Mourinho’s bench.

Carrick stayed to work under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the Norwegian also regularly picking up the thoughts of Phelan and Kieran McKenna throughout his spell in the dugout.

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High cholesterol: Blood pressure drug linked to significant reduction in good cholesterol

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“Though they’re commonly used to treat different forms of heart disease, beta-blockers can significantly reduce HDL levels.”

Among the beta-blockers that cause this are Corgard (nadolol), Inderal (propranolol), Tenormin (atenolol), Zebeta (bisoprolol).

These drugs are widely used in the treatment of angina, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, heart attack and high blood pressure.

But despite concerns about their effect on cholesterol, scientists stress that the benefits of beta-blockers far outweigh the risks.

VeryWell Health adds: “If your beta-blocker affects your cholesterol significantly, your doctor may lower your dose or switch you to a different medication.”



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Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez not on same page over Saudi Arabia GP after missile attack

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However, after a four-hour meeting between race officials and the teams, it was confirmed the race would go ahead despite the attack. It had been reported that a number of the competing drivers were concerned for their safety following the nearby explosion.

Despite this, an agreement was finally reached to race at 2:30am local time, after team chiefs left the lengthy meeting to confirm: “We will be racing.” A statement from Formula 1 confirmed Sunday’s race would go ahead as planned. It read: “Formula 1 has been in close contact with the relevant authorities following the situation that took place today. The authorities have confirmed that the event can continue as planned and we will remain in close contact with them and all the teams and closely monitor the situation.”

Unsurprisingly, there were a number of mixed views on whether the race should go ahead, and this is clearly apparent in the Red Bull setup. This comes after advisor Helmut Marko revealed that drivers Verstappen and Perez are not on the same page when it comes to racing.

JUST IN: F1 drivers ‘had concerns’ about Saudi Arabia GP as new details emerge after missile attack

On the issue, Marko told Sky Germany: “Max is a bit more relaxed about it. Perez is a little bit scared, but when you live in Mexico City there’s not much more security. We have the pandemic, we have the war in Europe and now we have a missile attack 20 kilometres away. This is no longer normal or pleasant.”

Ahead of tomorrow’s race though, the Austrian advisor is firmly on the side of Verstappen and the race officials, supporting the idea of the race taking place. He commented: “I really think it’s the right thing to do. As I said, these drone attacks are common, I think. They have a very good defence system. Why this one didn’t work remains to be seen. It’s not the first drone, after all. But it’s the first one to strike on such a scale.”

The attack took place during Friday’s first practice session, and it was Red Bull’s star man Verstappen who was one of the first to realise something was wrong after reporting on his team radio that he could ‘smell burning’. Initially, the Dutchman thought the smell was coming from either his or one of his rival’s cars, however it then became clear that an explosion had taken place just a few miles from the track.

Giving an insight into Verstappen’s initial worries, Marko said: “Max radioed us, he thought his car had caught fire because there was an intense burning smell. We were informed a drone had been sent from Yemen. The Saudis have a defence system and for some reason the drone was not intercepted.”



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