Saudi Arabia is set to host its first Grand Prix on a 6-kilometre high-speed Jeddah Street Circuit, boasting 27 corners which has Formula 1 sporting chief Ross Brawn excited.
The circuit has been designed with close collaboration with Tilke GmbH & Co. KG and the Formula 1 Motorsport team under Brawn to ensure exciting racing for F1 fans and drivers.
Brawn said in a press release: “It’s always very exciting to release the details of a new circuit and the Saudi Arabia Street Circuit is no exception.
“We have worked very 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 the track in December.”
Located in the Corniche area on the Red Sea, approximately 12km geographically north of Jeddah’s centre, the circuit will be 6.175km long, the second-longest on the Formula 1 calendar, after Spa Francorchamps at 7.004km.
The circuit will have 27 corners and has the potential for three DRS detections zones, increasing the ability to overtake and close-up on cars in front.
The average speeds are estimated, in simulation, to be around 250km/h and the fast-flowing layout with high-speed esses and chicanes, as well as long full-throttle sections, will make Jeddah the fastest street circuit in F1 as well as one of the fastest circuits on the Formula 1 calendar, with Monza the fastest at 264.4 km/h
The race is a political hot potato with activists labelling the project as “sportswashing” in a country that has been at war for most of this century and where human-rights abuses are reportedly common.
During the recent Formula E event in the country, official reports confirmed missiles were intercepted in the country’s night sky.
With regards to safety and security in Saudi, F1 said in a statement to grandprix247: “Safety of F1 personnel and spectators is the paramount consideration always.
“Every promoter and host country devotes considerable resources and expertise to the planning and rehearsal of its security arrangements and F1 has a security team that reviews those arrangements in the planning stage.
“F1 would never go somewhere if it did not have confidence that the host government and its security agencies had the risks appropriately mitigated and under control.”
An FIA spokesperson added: “The FIA reiterates the statement of Formula 1 with regard to the paramount consideration of the safety of all personnel and spectators.
“The FIA, as it does in any country where it conducts events, relies upon the host country to provide for the safety and security of the event and those participating in and observing.
“The FIA has every confidence that the Saudi government and its agencies have both the technology and capability to ensure this safety and security.”
The first Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia is scheduled for the weekend of 3 to 5 December.