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F1 drivers praised for Saudi Arabia response

F1 drivers praised for Saudi Arabia response

F1 News

F1 drivers praised for Saudi Arabia response

F1 drivers praised for Saudi Arabia response

Former F1 driver and chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association Alex Wurz has praised the sport's drivers for their reaction to the issues surrounding the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The event was thrown into doubt by a terrorist attack near the Jeddah Corniche Circuit during Friday practice, with team principals and drivers initially meeting with F1, the FIA and Saudi officials before second practice.

A further meeting took place after the day's running had finished with F1 confirming the race would take place, only for the drivers to continue their debate in a meeting lasting over four hours.

Saudi Arabia had already been under pressure from drivers for its human rights records, including its treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.

Addressing the change in behaviour relating to societal issues, Wurz told The Guardian: “We can see that sport has undergone a very swift change over the last few years.

“It really came to the surface with the issue of racism and with Black Lives Matter. Before, drivers were seen as sportspeople where the position was: ‘I am a sportsperson, I am not getting involved in politics.’ That time has really gone.

“In the last two to three years those young people have suddenly come to the position that they should have an opinion and that they should also talk and express their opinions and deal with their responsibility for it.”

Addressing the actions of members of the GPDA in Saudi Arabia, Wurz added: “It’s definitely very impressive to watch that they strongly came together, as they did so over the last few years.

"But now it is demanded of athletes. The transformation of young people taking this responsibility is impressive.

“We are talking about people who are dedicated to a professional life and they are going out and informing themselves and forming their opinions.”

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