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Wolff denies "arm-twisting" to prevent Saudi Arabia driver boycott

Wolff denies "arm-twisting" to prevent Saudi Arabia driver boycott

F1 News

Wolff denies "arm-twisting" to prevent Saudi Arabia driver boycott

Wolff denies "arm-twisting" to prevent Saudi Arabia driver boycott

Toto Wolff has denied there was any "arm-twisting" involved in convincing drivers to press ahead with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after Friday's terrorist attack.

The first two F1 practice sessions at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit took place with a backdrop of fire and smoke after the nearby Aramco oil depot was targeted by Yemeni rebel group, the Houthis.

Meetings took place involving F1, the FIA, the teams and drivers either side of FP2 with a further drivers' meeting extending four-and-a-half hours into the early hours of the morning.

The 10 team principals all visited the meeting to express the assurances given with regard to the safety and security of the event with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and managing director, motorsports, Ross Brawn also pushing this message.

“There wasn’t any arm-twisting from our side," said Wolff.

"There were good discussions and when the team principals talked to the drivers, I think what we talked was sense and not at all with any pressure but maybe that was perceived in a different way.

“In the end, the show and the spectacle was amazing and what we delivered as a sport was great and I think this is what sport should do."

Wolff - "So much more to do" in Saudi Arabia

In the lead-up to the Saudi Arabian weekend and across its duration, questions were repeatedly raised as to whether F1 should be racing in a country with such a poor human rights record.

The mass execution of 81 people a fortnight before the event served only to strengthen this viewpoint.

Backing the positive impact F1 has had in Saudi Arabia, however, Wolff added: “To be honest, I have been here since five years [ago] and I have seen change.

“But I repeat what I have said before, there is just so much more to do. I mean, a lot.”

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