F1 organizers insist Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will go ahead despite Houthi attack on nearby oil facility

    Smoke billows from an oil storage facility in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on March 25, 2022.

    (CNN)Race organizers confirmed the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will take place this weekend despite an attack claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels on an oil storage facility near the track on Friday.

    A joint statement from Formula 1 and the sport's governing body FIA said that "following discussions with all the teams and drivers," the race at the Jeddah circuit would go ahead. The Saudi Grand Prix is the second race of the new season and comes on the seventh anniversary of the start of the civil war in Yemen.
    "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," the statement read.
      "It has been agreed with all stakeholders to maintain a clear and open dialogue throughout the event and for the future."
        Friday's explosion at the Aramco facility -- an F1 sponsor -- occurred about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the track and smoke could be seen billowing over the city during Friday's practice.
        The second practice session was delayed by 15 minutes as teams and drivers were called to meet organizers. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff told reporters that teams had been "assured that we are protected" and that the track was "probably the safest place that you can be in Saudi Arabia" at the moment.
        However, sources told CNN that drivers felt uneasy after the attack and many did not want to drive in the race.
          The Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) Chairman Alex Wurz issued a statement on Saturday saying Friday was "a difficult day" for the sport and a "stressful day" for drivers.
          He added that "seeing the smoke from the incident" made it "difficult to remain a fully focused race driver."
          Wurz said there were long discussions and debates following the attack but "the outcome was a resolution" that the race would go forward with drivers' participation.
          "We therefore hope that the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will be remembered as a good race rather than for the incident that took place yesterday," Wurz added.
          Drivers are set to take to the track for qualifying on Saturday before the race itself on Sunday.
          Ferrari's Charles Leclerc driving during the second practice session on Friday.

          No casualties in attack

          The Houthis said they used a "large number" of drones to target the facility in Friday's attack.
          The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen said one ballistic missile and 10 bomb-laden drones launched from the southern border by the