For those who haven’t been following Formula 1 regularly, you might be surprised to hear of some new races at surprising locations. One such unexpected host is Saudi Arabia. The inaugural 2021 Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will happen in December this year, and it will be on a street circuit in capital Jeddah.
The 6.175 km Jeddah Corniche Circuit will have 27 corners and is billed as the longest street circuit in the sport. With average speeds expected to reach at least 250 km/h, the new addition is set to be the fastest street circuit in the world, and in the top five fastest F1 circuits. Set on the banks of the Red Sea, it should be a unique backdrop as well.
Recently, race promoter Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) hosted the region’s sports and lifestyle media at the venue, which is said to be nearing completion (ground breaking happened in March). During the tour, media were given access to the 280m-long, four-storey pit building. Due to be finalised by October, the paddock “will become one of the most unique and innovative structures of its kind,” providing views of the racing action and Jeddah waterfront.
The press was also taken to the 12-degree bank at Turn 13 that’s currently under construction, as well as the DRS-enabled sweeping stretch that follows the exit from T23, where cars are expected to hit speeds of 322 km/h as they head into the crucial final turn (T27). Also inspected was the “Media Island” where they will be based over the race weekend.
Developed in partnership by Tilke Engineers (yes, Hermann) and F1’s own Motorsports Division, the circuit makes strong use of the long, sweeping roads along the city’s Corniche area, utilising this feature and existing roads as much as possible along the narrow stretch of coastal land. It will be “one of the most unique and challenging circuits yet to feature in F1,” the promoters say.
“An atypical street circuit, fast flowing with high speed esses and chicanes as well as long full throttle sections, the Jeddah Corniche Circuit is designed to deliver spectacular racing and is sure to generate huge excitement for F1 fans around the world and pose a stern examination of the drivers’ strength and skills,” SAMF said of the project, which is part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 programme.
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