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F1 says Abu Dhabi GP not affected by Israel-Gaza war

Formula 1 insists the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix does not face an increased risk of being cancelled amid speculation linking the stability of the race to the Israel-Gaza war.

Mechanics and marshals clear the grid as the drivers prepare to start the race

Mechanics and marshals clear the grid as the drivers prepare to start the race

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The online rumour mill suggested that the 24-26 November season finale was at risk of being called off following an update from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

On 29 October, the FCO updated the terrorism alert level for the United Arab Emirates to declare that "indiscriminate" attacks are "very likely", including at places "visited by foreigners".

The FCO notes: "Terrorists continue to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in the Gulf region.

"These include references to attacks on Western interests, including residential compounds, military, oil, transport and aviation interests as well as crowded places, including restaurants, hotels, beaches, shopping centres and mosques.

"You should maintain a high level of security awareness, particularly in public places and at public events.

"There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets.

"You should remain vigilant at all times."

This update had been wrongly conflated to be a response to the Israel-Gaza war.

Abu Dhabi GP is not at risk of cancellation

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Abu Dhabi GP is not at risk of cancellation

The increased alert level places the UAE at the same terror status as other recent F1 host nations Germany, France, Belgium and Bahrain.

F1 has therefore moved to say that the Abu Dhabi GP is not at heightened risk of being cancelled.

Autosport understands that the situation has been clarified with the teams and team principals.

The Emilia Romagna GP at Imola, scheduled for 19-21 May, was cancelled due to the severe flooding in the region.

However, the 2022 Saudi Arabian GP eventually went ahead amid fierce resistance from drivers following a missile strike on a nearby Aramco oil facility during the first practice session.

The drivers met for over four hours, with talks going on until the early hours of Saturday morning, as they considered boycotting the race before reportedly having their security concerns addressed.

F1 dropped Russia off the calendar for 2022 following the invasion of Ukraine, while the 2011 Bahrain GP was cancelled due to anti-government protests pertaining to the Arab Spring.

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