Promoted: Inside the Jeddah F1 Corniche street circuit

On December 3-5, Formula 1 hits the track in Jeddah for the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Ahead of F1's first foray into the country we take a closer look at the sport's latest venue.

Promoted: Inside the Jeddah F1 Corniche street circuit

Which track is similar to the one in Jeddah?

When comparing tracks, the Baku City Circuit probably springs to mind. Here too, high top speeds are achieved, but the average speed is significantly lower due to the many 90-degree, low-speed corners.

The flowing parts of the Jeddah's Corniche circuit might resemble Silverstone, with the additional benefit of having a banking of up to 12 percent in some of its corners. But according to circuit architect Carsten Tilke, this course is not comparable to any other track.

Is it a Mercedes or Red Bull circuit?

Which team performs best will depend on many factors. High speed circuits seem to suit Mercedes while Red Bull favours the twisty sections. Both elements are present on this circuit, but early images show the Jeddah street circuit is going to be extremely fast.

Mercedes will be putting a fresher power unit in Lewis Hamilton's car, the same one he had at his disposal in Brazil. It will therefore be interesting to see what advantage Hamilton has on the straights as Max Verstappen and Red Bull pull out all the stops.

Has there been any racing in Jeddah before?

The street circuit in Jeddah is brand new, but it will not be the first time an F1 car has roared through the streets. In mid-November, Red Bull visited for a demonstration with an RB8, so former Formula 1 driver Patrick Friesacher treated the spectators to the sounds of a pre-hybrid-era F1 car.

Saudi Arabia is not unfamiliar with motorsport as a whole, having made a push to attract international series over the past few years. Since 2020, the Dakar Rally has been held in the country in January and last February Nyck de Vries won the very first Formula E night race in Diriyah. Two months later Extreme E also visited for the Desert X Prix.

Is overtaking possible on the circuit?

The circuit located in Jeddah by the Red Sea was built in only 12 months, aiming to be finished just in time for the race. The 6.174-kilometre-long street circuit has 27 corners, many of which are fast twists and turns, plus that corner with 12 percent banking. Because it is a street circuit, the walls are often perilously close.

Before the final corner, the track widens and lends itself to multiple racing lines, especially when using DRS. Circuit designer Tilke worked closely with Formula 1 director Ross Brawn's team to determine the final layout based on simulations, and the F1 organisation expects the circuit to lend itself to overtaking.

How many DRS zones are there?

There are three potential DRS zones on the Corniche Circuit in Jeddah, but these have not yet been officially confirmed by the FIA. The most likely place for a DRS zone is on the straight, and there could be a second zone in the middle of the circuit. Drivers may also be allowed to open the wing before entering the penultimate corner.

How fast will F1 cars be on the Corniche Circuit Jeddah?

Many parts of the track can be driven at full throttle and the estimated top speed is 322 kilometres per hour. The average speed in the simulations was 252.8kph, which is slightly faster than Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps and only 11.6kph slower than Monza.

It is by far the fastest street circuit on the Formula 1 calendar. In second place is Albert Park in Australia with an average speed of 237.2kph.

What else is there to see during the GP weekend?

Besides Formula 1, the FIA Formula 2 Championship is also in action. Australia's Oscar Piastri currently leads the championship with 178 points and has a comfortable margin over teammate Guanyu Zhou, who will be promoted to the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team next year.

Fans of GT cars will enjoy the Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East.

Off track, Jason Derulo and DJ Tiësto will take the stage on Saturday. On Sunday, Justin Bieber, A$AP Rocky and David Guetta will entertain the audience. Admission to the concerts is free for ticket holders.

Where are the best seats?

With the first race still to be run, Motorsport.com recently asked Tilke about the best spots to watch the action. He recommended the zone immediately after the first corner, where a stadium section has been created, drawing comparisons to the famous stadium section in Mexico City or S-corner in Zandvoort. From the grandstand, you can see the first corner as well as a point further along the lap where the drivers have to tap the brakes before accelerating.

What else is there to do in Jeddah?

If you are heading to Jeddah you should not miss the historical heart of the city, Al Balad. Among other things, there are numerous museums that tell the history of the city. And besides the historical buildings, street food can be found in plenty of places to try out the local specialities.

Another tip is a long walk along the promenade in the Corniche, marked by the illuminated King Fahd's Fountain, the largest of its kind. The 30km promenade has many bars and restaurants.

shares

Related video

Horner: Turn 6 deficit behind Red Bull's Qatar F1 gap to Mercedes
Previous article

Horner: Turn 6 deficit behind Red Bull's Qatar F1 gap to Mercedes

Next article

Red Bull still needs fix for 'flappy' wing problems

Red Bull still needs fix for 'flappy' wing problems
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021