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F1 awaiting information on oil refinery attacks in Jeddah

Formula 1 is awaiting information from Saudi Arabian authorities on the cause of an explosion at an oil refinery near the Jeddah track on Friday.

Smoke in the sky of Jeddah

Photo by: Motorsport Images

As F1 cars took to the Jeddah street circuit for the opening practice session, black smoke was seen drifting into the sky as the result of a large fire at an Aramco facility near the international airport.

The Jeddah circuit is around 10 miles from the airport and the smell of burning oil drifted across the track during practice.

A Houthi military spokesman said the organisation claimed responsibility for the attack on Aramco's facilities, which have been hit with missiles, and the Ras Tanura and Rabigh refineries with drones.

With the Saudi Grand Prix the centre of worldwide focus this weekend, any confirmed attack will heighten safety concerns for the weekend.

F1 chiefs were seeking clarification from the local authorities regarding the incident before deciding if any further steps are needed to be taken.

An F1 spokesman said: "We are waiting for further information from the authorities on what has happened."

It is understood that security at the Jeddah track had been heightened for this weekend anyway.

The incident on Friday comes less than a week after the Houthis attacked a number of targets within Saudi Arabia.

The Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen issued a statement confirming it was responsible for a missile that last Saturday caused a fire to break out at an Aramco distribution centre in Jeddah.

It also launched a barrage of missile and drone attacks on various targets in the country.

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