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.

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