The newest addition to the F1 calendar, Saudi Arabia, has revealed the track which will host its grand prix later this year. It’s called the Jeddah Street Circuit and, as the name rather suggests, it’s a track crafted from the roads around the country’s second-largest city, Jeddah.
Located in the Ash-Shati district of the city, on the Red Sea coast, the Jeddah Street Circuit covers 3.84 miles (6.175km) of city streets. The track is largely based on the Corniche Road, with both sides of the road’s wide carriageways used. It winds past some of the major landmarks in this part of the city, including the Belajio Resort, the Diamond Tower, and the Al Rahma mosque.
Designed by the famous Tilke circuit architecture firm, the new circuit will be the second-longest track on the F1 calendar, behind only Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Early simulations suggest that it will be the second-fastest track used by F1, as well as the fastest street circuit ever raced, with average speeds of 157mph (283km/h). To preview the circuit, F1 has published this simulation video:
One thing fans will notice is the course seems reminiscent more of the Valencia Street Circuit than the Monaco vibe you’d expect of something set on the corniche, largely due to the lack of circuit elevation. There’s a number of fast sections, though the simulated car tops out at a mere 189mph (304km/h), with heavy braking zones for chicanes. Each chicane also seems to have a significant amount of run off for the second section, which looks ripe for some late lunges.
It’s an anti-clockwise circuit, making for more lefts than rights among the 27 turns — again, the most on the calendar — though many of the corners are more of a direction change on a straight than somewhere you need to brake or slow. In fact of the three possible DRS zones, two cover multiple corners: T18-21 and T25-26. The pit lane is also to the left, on the circuit infield, with the exit ejecting cars into T2, much like the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Canada.
Ross Brawn, F1’s managing director of motorsport comments:
“It’s always very exciting to release the details of a new circuit and the Jeddah Street Circuit is no exception. We have worked closely with the team at Tilke and with the promoter to ensure we have a track that provides exciting wheel to wheel racing for our fans and challenges all of the drivers.
“The design brings out the best of a modern street circuit but also has fast paced free flowing areas that will create fast speeds and overtaking opportunities. The setting is incredible, on the Red Sea, and we can’t wait to see the cars on track in December.”
Saudi Arabia’s first grand prix is scheduled for December 5, and as the penultimate race on the calendar could be the decider for both championship titles in 2021.