FormulaNerds Cut To The Race Podcast

Team principals discuss cancelling Abu Dhabi Grand Prix over Israel-Hamas war safety concerns

Fears over instability in the Arabian Peninsula ramp up as Formula 1 prepares to travel to the United Arab Emirates

Latest Episode | Cut To The Race Podcast

Discussions are currently underway between teams and officials in Formula 1 regarding the future of the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Formula 1 race in Saudi Arabia to go on despite Houthi attack near the track : NPR
An explosion occurred within eyeshot of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit during the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend (Image Credit: AFP via Getty Images)

As the 2023 Israel-Hamas war rages on, concerns over the safety of teams, drivers and spectators have ramped up as the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix draws ever nearer.

The race is due to take place on November 26th, but a few teams are becoming concerned about their safety travelling to and staying in the Arabian peninsula.

It is believed that one team principal raised the issue during the United States Grand Prix in a meeting with F1 officials. While a decision regarding the future of the event has yet to be made, the organisers are continuously monitoring the situation. They have stated that at this current time, the threat level is low enough for the race weekend to go ahead as planned.

This is not the first time that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and other neighbouring races on the F1 calendar have been threatened with possible attacks and cancellations. Houthi rebels from Yemen conducted drone strikes at an oil depot a few miles from the Jeddah Corniche Circuit during the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend, killing three people.

Closer to the Yas Marina Circuit, the Al-Dhafra air base was targeted with missile attacks last year. Located just 30 miles from the racetrack, the American military has recently deployed 5000 soldiers to the base to increase defence capabilities. This comes after threats from Iraqi resistance group Alwiyat al-Waad al-Haq stating they are prepared to attack US bases in the area.

How the Israel-Hamas conflict could draw more countries in

The war between Israel and the Hamas-led Gaza Strip has been ongoing for over two weeks, with no sign of letting up. Nearby countries have pledged allegiance for one or the other. With neighbouring nations disagreeing on who should be supported in the conflict, there is a possibility that the balance of power could undergo a dramatic shift in the region.

Hamas is backed by Iran; should they decide to join the war it could force the hand of other countries in the Arabian peninsula including Saudi Arabia and the UAE to defend themselves.

Furthermore, other militant groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the aforementioned Houthi movement are also backed by Iran, and may be compelled to join the fighting as well.

F1 has yet to comment on the escalating hostilities, though several drivers including Lewis Hamilton have expressed their views on the situation.

The seven-time World Champion stated on social media: “My heart breaks for the innocent lives lost in Israel and Palestine, and all the lives that have been forever changed.”

“Now more than ever we need to come together. With so much hurt and grief, we need to use our collective power to put pressure on our leaders to do absolutely everything they can to find a way to end this. We shouldn’t rest until every child in the region is safe.”

Feature Image Credit: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images Photographer

  1. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) labeled Qatar a “safe haven for religious extremists expelled by other countries, so ingore them, don’t race there, do not invest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.

Back to the top