Saudi Arabia’s F1 circuit “nearing the finish line on completion”

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: The promoter of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix says the Jeddah Corniche Circuit is nearing completion.

In brief

Jeddah circuit will be “built in record time”

Jeddah Corniche Circuit track map, 2021
Track data: Jeddah Corniche Circuit
Following reports which claimed the new street track being built in Jeddah faced a race against time to be ready for its first grand prix next month the CEO of the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Martin Whitaker, told RaceFans work at the venue was proceeding well.

“The rate of progress on the development of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit as we enter the crucial final period of the track build is very good,” said Whitaker. “With almost all of the base course Tarmac laid by early September [the photograph above shows building work during August], we are now in the assembly stage of the circuit’s permanent and semi-permanent structures, including the stunning 280-metre long pit and team buildings alongside other buildings including the fan zones and grandstands.

“Completing such an undertaking in under nine months is a massive task but with just over two months to go, we are nearing the finish line on completion of the world’s longest, fastest and newest street circuit, built in record time.”

The promoter yesterday announced Saudi Telecom Company as the race’s official title sponsor.

Palou partnership reminds Dixon of Franchitti years

Feature: Palou’s stunning rise from F1 feeder series to IndyCar champion – via Japan
Six-times IndyCar champion Scott Dixon says working with his newly-crowned champion team mate Alex Palou reminds him of his days alongside multiple champion Dario Franchitti.

“It’s great for the team,” said Dixon after Palou’s triumph on Sunday. “Obviously it has raised the bar, but I think it’s raised the bar for all of us this year to keep pushing.

“It definitely feels like kind of the 2009 through sort of ’12-13 period with Dario, which is great. Obviously it was really only two cars at that point.”

“I’m excited for team morale,” Dixon added. “That’s the big thing. Obviously when you get beat, when it’s not just the drivers but the crews as well, it pushes everybody a lot harder. Hopefully we can come out of the gate very strong.”

Alpine won’t block Zhou from joining Alfa Romeo

Alpine won’t stand in the way of junior driver Guanyu Zhou if he has a chance to make his Formula 1 debut with Alfa Romeo next year, says executive director Marcin Budkowski.

“We are evaluating options for our academy drivers but the success of an academy is also measured through its output,” said Budkowski. “We are running this academy because we want to generate Formula 1 drivers, Formula 1 drivers for Alpine, and the academy as such is only successful if it does generate Formula 1 drivers, so we can’t stand in the way of our drivers who are mature for F1 and ready to take that challenge because that would be, obviously, negative for their careers and for them as individuals and also it would reflect badly on our academy.

“So these are the parameters we need to take into account when assessing our plans for next year.”

The team is yet to confirm its plans for Zhou and fellow Alpine junior Oscar Piastri, who is leading the Formula 2 standings. “We’ll announce this in due course,” said Budkowski.

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Comment of the day

The addition of Losail International Circuit to the F1 calendar was welcomed by at least one reader:

I know the reaction to this news is going to be overwhelmingly negative, but as someone who now lives in the GCC region having 4 races on my doorstep is incredibly exciting.
@Geemac

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On this day in motorsport

Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso were tied on points with two races to go today in 2006

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  • 30 comments on “Saudi Arabia’s F1 circuit “nearing the finish line on completion””

    1. So Alpine happy to let Zhou go, so they can keep Oscar Piastri for themselves?

      1. I would imagine Zhou would have to buy out his contract with Alpine and help cover any expenses Alpine incurred/owed to Alpine to develop & invest in him as driver to reach F1 for them. It’s a smart move as they already have Piastri in their back pocket and get some money out of the deal.

        The interesting thing is if Zhou takes the seat at Sauber for one year, then what? By the sounds of it Sauber really wants to upgrade Pouchaire’s ticket to first class (F1) in 2023. What then happens to Zhou? Bottas has a three year contract with Sauber. But if Zhou doesn’t take the 1 year contract, he may never get the chance to drive a F1 car. He’ll just be another unproven driver waiting in the wings (with money), I doubt 2023 will have many vacancies for free agent drivers except maybe Haas could be tempted but I doubt it?

        1. @redpill I agree Zhou should take the Alfa Romeo offer anyway, even if only for a single-year deal, as otherwise, he’d risk not racing in F1 at all. I still reckon he’ll become Bottas’ teammate in any case.

    2. What do folks think about the Jeddah track? To me the first three corners remind me, not in a good way, of the opening chicane of Monza and the rest is all twists and turns without a decent straightaway.

      1. Looks like a combo of Monza, Silverstone and other track/made up part. The third part looks almost straight so two straights for DRS.
        But the question is will the asfalt ready on time as time gets nearer.

      2. I think it looks like just another boringly flat, featureless & devoid of any character modern car park circuit.

        1. Roger, what?!?
          It looks exactly NOT like generic Tilkedroms.
          It reminds of Montreal more than anything.
          Instead of the predictable: straight-> sharp-turn-> long-straight-> hairpin nonsense it has realistic, twisty but fast bits without any forced attempts at creating overtaking opportunities.
          It looks awesome!

          1. To me this seems unfathomable. I mean you are building a new track, money seems not to be a problem for the Saudis, presumably the locals, if in a populated area, which I doubt, are not queueing upn to complain, so why this aversion to elevation changes. Changes of height would give these dessert parking lots / processional tracks more character. Why they don’t beats me. But hey I’m not paying for it. Look at turn 1 of COTA, it has become a signature for the whole track.

            1. COTA’s turn 1 is built on a natural hill. All they did was profile it in such a way as to maximise it’s effect.
              And it’s situated out where no other considerations are an issue anyway. Farmland isn’t the same as city beachfront in a desert.

      3. It looks like something from the human anatomy,

      4. I know people are looking for more gravel traps, but that is taking it too far in my opinion. :-)

    3. Reading Jenny Gow’s tweet & then seeing how many of the replies see no issue with triple headers or more races because people in f1 travel the world, have a dream job, get paid a fortune & should therefore stop complaining shows just how many F1 fans have zero idea how utterly brutal the schedule is.

      I guarantee that 90%+ of those who feel those working in f1 should quit complaining about the schedule would change their tune immediately after a few months of “living the dream”.

      Seriously you have no idea just how brutal it is or just how big a toll it takes not just on the person doing the job but also the family.

      Get Netflix to make an episode of drive to survive on that side of the sport.

      1. When they are done with that lifestyle, they are free to leave and do other things.
        It’s a choice.

        It’s not just F1 either – there are other industries that involve similar schedules are workloads. Try living and working as touring crew in the music/entertainment industry. Same deal.
        You do it for a while, and when the negatives outweigh the positives you go and do something else.

        The teams could always rotate their staff, of course…. Just as they do in those other comparable industries.
        Most sensible employers realise that burning out your staff isn’t in your own best long term interests, and most sensible employees realise that burning yourself out is no good either.

        1. @S Travelling staff rotation is possible, although only to a limited extent, especially under the budget cap.

          1. The budget cap is $140m+…. You can’t convince me that isn’t enough.
            It’s not about money anyway – it’s about management. If they want fresh, motivated and clear-thinking staff, they need breaks and variety.
            The industry doesn’t need to stop for them – the individual teams simply need to manage their HR better.

            1. @S Still, no F1 team has enough people for a massive amount of rotation.

        2. Try living and working as touring crew in the music/entertainment industry. Same deal.

          I actually have & believe me the F1 schedule is significantly more brutal because it goes on for longer with less time to spend at home, Especially now with more races & more triple headers.

          The teams could always rotate their staff

          The top teams used to (The backmarker teams didn’t) but with the ban on testing & push towards spending restrictions most of the grid no longer have enough staff to do a rotation & many don’t have the budgets to hire enough extra people to have a rotation.

          I’ll go back to the thing I said initially. I don’t think fans truly appreciate or understand just how brutal it’s got as the schedule has expanded with more double/triple headers been implemented as a result.
          That is the core problem, Most teams always saw a 20 race season as the limit yet over the past 3-4 years it gone beyond that & that along with the need for double/triple headers is what has very suddenly made things significantly more brutal.

          Also bear in mind that a vast majority of the paddock didn’t sign-up for 23+ races or triple headers as most of those in the paddock came into the sport when it was still sub 20 races with maybe just 1 double header in the season.

          Liberty & the FIA need to listen to the teams on this, They need to understand the feelings & concerns of those they are driving into the ground with this absurd schedule.

          1. I actually have & believe me the F1 schedule is significantly more brutal because it goes on for longer with less time to spend at home

            Not turning this into a peeing contest – but there are many more demanding tours and work sequences than that, involving no home time at all for many (4+) months at a time. Never mind the adverse work times and schedules, on/off time ratio and the intense work demands during that ‘on’ time.
            And when that tour pauses or ends, you work other jobs…. Usually without the decent pay, health cover, holidays, job security or other perks that F1 team employees are privileged to receive.

            I don’t think fans truly appreciate or understand just how brutal it’s got as the schedule

            It’s entirely on the teams to manage their resources. It has literally nothing to with F1 management or scheduling.
            Remember – F1 isn’t a single business in this sense. It is an industry, with a bunch of individual businesses participating within it.
            The retail industry (for example) doesn’t completely shut down for 4 weeks of the year just to give workers time off – it’s up to each individual employer/business to organise their staffing needs and manage their performance and health/safety.
            F1 is no different. If Mercedes/Red Bull/Ferrari etc employees are fatigued, then it is up to those teams to solve that issue internally. It is not Liberty’s or the FIA’s problem – nor do they need to shut down their entire industry due to poor HR management of individual businesses within that industry.
            It’s completely irrelevant how many races the teams ‘signed up to’ – although they did agree to the current calendar expansion and potential maximum, anyway. They’ve even signed up to the latest concorde agreement with those terms… Clearly the teams are satisfied.

      2. @gt-racer maybe you have an office job but some of us don’t stop moving either.

      3. I’am sure a nurse on 14 hour shifts and crap wages would just roll there eyes an say ‘ I should be so lucky’

    4. Looks like a track that will suit the Red Bull…

      1. Maybe but it looks like a lot of high speed corners which Mercedes isn’t bad either.

        1. Yes, not sure about this one, but red bull usually is stronger on street tracks, but there’s indeed some long straight; in baku red bull was comprehensively better although, like perez said, hamilton was flying on the straights.

        2. Yes fast corners and even hard breaking ought to be a Mercedes track

      2. Red Bull has a dominant car. Pretty much any circuit is a Red Bull track these days.

        1. Yes, Perez surely showing anyone can win in that car. Oh, wait…

    5. Ironically, the Jeddah circuit looks like a bonesaw.

    6. Great, more shady human rights countries on the calendar. Lewis, any comments?

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