The architects of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, venue for this year’s inaugural Formula 1 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, believe the new track will be among the best in the world.
Saudi Arabia is set to host the penultimate round of the championship in December, with a 27-turn circuit currently under construction in the corniche of the country’s second city, Jeddah.
It is expected to be the fastest street circuit with an average lap time of 252km/h predicted.
“Typically, modern cities are made up of blocks, which when used for a circuit leads to many 90-degree corners one after another, which isn’t particularly exciting for the driver or spectator,” said Carsten Tilke, Managing Director of design organisation Tilke GmbH.
“We don’t have that restriction here as the corniche area north of Jeddah is only just being developed.
“It means we could create a number of designs in collaboration with F1 which were then run in simulations built by Ross Brawn’s Motorsports team at Formula 1.
“Using our engineering know-how and their results led to adjustments being made to the layout which were then simulated again to develop a new model.
“And then of course the FIA needed to consider the safety aspects of the design. The fast sections we have on the track are only possible if safety is guaranteed, which is closely checked and monitored by the FIA.
“For me this is why the Jeddah Street Circuit works so well. It’s close to the city, it will draw in the spectators and have the atmosphere of an urban venue, but it has the space so we can increase the speed of the corners which is something you can normally only do at a permanent facility.
“All of these elements will make this one of the best circuits in the world.”
Tilke was speaking to mark 100 days to go until the inaugural race and asserted that everything will be completed in time despite the brief window in which to construct the venue.
“The story of why this circuit has been fast-tracked into construction is because the Qiddiya venue near Riyadh that was originally slated to host a Grand Prix is a huge undertaking that will take many years to create,” he explained.
“The intention was to accelerate Saudi Arabia’s presence on the F1 schedule so Formula 1 made a number of visits to Jeddah to look at sites to create something that would take less time to build.
“Everything is a big challenge. If you visit the site in Jeddah today all you will see is a big construction site.
“The time schedule is so tight that we cannot make any mistakes, and everything needs to go ahead as planned. It’s a huge logistical exercise, but it’s all going to plan right now.”