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Hermann Tilke

Tilke appointed to design Saudi GP circuit

Hermann Tilke

Saudi Arabia’s street circuit for the 2021 grand prix will be designed by long-time Formula 1 track architect Hermann Tilke, Saudi officials have revealed.

Set to take place in Jeddah on Novermber 28, the track is a stop-gap measure until a purpose-built circuit is ready on the outskirts of the capital Riyadh at Qiddiya.

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And while the Qiddiya circuit has been designed by former F1 driver Alex Wurz, the president of the Saudi Arabian motorsport federation, Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Faisal, says Tilke was approached for Jeddah given such a short turnaround.

“Given the time that we have, we found out that the best option for us is to go directly with Tilke,” he said in remarks reported by RaceFans. “We need to work very fast and it’s something a street circuit, it’s not like a new project starting from scratch so we wanted to bring someone that has experience both in the street circuit races.”

And while the prince says the layout is “80% set” already, he insists the design will be conducive to close racing.

“Our goal is to make it an exciting and thrilling race. We don’t want it to be one of those boring races where there is no overtaking. We host the Formula 1 because we want to bring the excitement.

“We’re doing our best to make it exciting. It’s not only about the scenery or the environment or the sporting events that we’re planning to do. For us racing needs to be exciting, needs to be fast.

“At the same time it’s a street race so you’re not building a track from scratch, we are limited to the things that we can do. But if you see the corniche in Jeddah you’re going to have an idea [of the layout].

“I can tell you it’s not going to be a slow race. Our goal is to make it exciting, thrilling with a lot of overtaking. We like seeing the event in Monaco, it’s a lovely event, but in terms of racing, there’s no overtaking, it’s not that exciting.

“So for us, we want to create a street race where it looks nice, the event, the environment is nice, but at the same time it’s a thrilling race. So this is a task that we’re working closely with Tilke and Formula 1, and hopefully we will achieve this goal.”