Further Jeddah F1 changes unveiled after driver criticism - The Race
Formula 1

Further Jeddah F1 changes unveiled after driver criticism

Nov 28 2022
By Edd Straw

Further modifications have been made to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit ahead of March’s third Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to tackle criticisms of the high-speed track that Red Bull driver Sergio Perez dubbed “the most dangerous place in the calendar”.

Although changes were made for the 2022 race, in particular to improve sight-lines through the high-speed sweeps, there was limited time to modify the track given there was less than four months between the previous year’s inaugural event at the circuit and its second grand prix. That led to complaints from drivers, with Carlos Sainz describing the changes as “marginally, a very small, tiny bit, smallest ever bit [better]”.

Mick Schumacher also called for more changes after his high-speed crash in the Turn 9-10 esses in qualifying, after which the Haas team decided not to repair his car for the race.

Mick Schumacher Haas Saudi Arabian GP Jeddah F1

The changes for 2023 have been made after consultation with drivers, the FIA and F1.

According to the Saudi Motorsport Company, this is “with a view to further improving driver sightlines at specific sections of the circuit and refashioning various kerbs, in line with new recommendations brought about after the introduction of the new F1 cars at the beginning of this year, to deliver smoother, safer, and even more exciting racing”.

Jeddah F1 Saudi Arabian GP track map

The most significant change in terms of laptime is to the Turn 22-23 esses. This has been tightened up thanks to the fence being moved and the addition of a bevelled kerb. The objective is to slow the cars by around 50k/h through this section.

What are called “rumble lines”, an adhesive attached to the ground similar to the ones used on public roads to warn drivers if they have drifted out of a lane, have been added at multiple corners. These will create a vibration for F1 cars and cost traction and have been added at Turns 3, 14, 19, 20 and 21.

Steel kerbs have also been replaced with more forgiving bevelled kerbs at Turns 4, 8, 10, 11, 17 and 23. That includes the site of the Schumacher crash after he was pitched into the wall, having lost the car when he ran wide over a kerb.

Turn 14 Jeddah F1 Saudi Arabian GP

The fast Turn 14 right-hand sweep has also been modified with the fence wall on the inside moved back by 7.5 metres to improve sightlines.

A similar change has been made at the Turn 20 left-hander, with the inside wall moved back by five metres. Rumble lines have also been added between the white line demarking the track edge and the wall.

Turn 20 Jeddah F1 Saudi Arabian GP

Fence walls have also been changed at the Turn 8 right-hander and the Turn 10 left-hander to improve visibility.

“The evolution of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit continues apace and we are excited to add these further tweaks to our magnificent track as a result of positive consultation with the FIA, F1 and the drivers,” said Saudi Motorsport Company chief executive Martin Whitaker.

“The previous two races here in Jeddah have already confirmed the JCC as the world’s fastest and most exciting street circuit and these new developments will only add to the spectacle that fans can expect to see next March when F1 returns to our city.

“It is vital for any circuit to listen and learn from those racing on it and use their feedback to grow and improve at all times.

“We are confident these changes will lead to even faster, more exciting and – crucially – safe racing and we can’t wait to see the world’s greatest drivers battle it out here under the lights again in 2023.”

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