New Saudi Arabian street circuit in Jeddah joins the Formula 1 calendar in December; 3.8-mile, 27-corner layout on the banks of the Red Sea to be the fastest street layout in the sport’s history
By James Galloway
Saudi Arabia have released the first details and images of the street circuit in Jeddah that will stage the country’s first Grand Prix in December.
Set to be the sport’s fastest street track with average speeds of 250kph (155mph), the circuit will feature 27 corners and run to 3.8 miles in length.
It will be the second-longest circuit on the calendar after Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. F1 also says that the track, which features high-speed esses, chicanes and several long straights, has the potential for three DRS overtaking zones.
“It’s always very exciting to release the details of a new circuit and the Saudi Arabia Street Circuit is no exception,” said F1 managing director of motorsport, Ross Brawn.
“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.”
Saudi Arabia will become F1’s third race in the Middle East after Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. The event will be the new season’s penultimate round, a week before Abu Dhabi, on December 3-5.
Formula 1 is the latest international sport to agree to stage an event in Saudi Arabia, with boxing, football and golf also holding high-profile events in the country in recent years.
However, the country has faced criticism from campaign groups for its human rights record. Amnesty International UK have accused organisers of ‘sportswashing’.
Speaking on the matter when the race was first announced last year, an F1 spokesperson said: “For decades, Formula 1 has worked hard be a positive force everywhere it races, including economic, social, and cultural benefits. Sports like Formula 1 are uniquely positioned to cross borders and cultures to bring countries and communities together to share the passion and excitement of incredible competition and achievement.
“We take our responsibilities very seriously and have made our position on human rights and other issues clear to all our partners and host countries who commit to respect human rights in the way their events are hosted and delivered.”
More to follow…