Jeddah Corniche Circuit construction, 2021

FIA sure Jeddah track will be ready for first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi says he has no doubt construction of the new Jeddah Corniche Circuit will be completed in time for the first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix next month.

The track is due to host the penultimate round of the world championship and could decide the title battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. However the team working on the site face a race against time to complete construction of the 6.1-kilometre course.

Masi has visited the venue to inspect progress when possible between F1 races. “I was there a couple of weeks ago and obviously there is a lot going on there,” he said.

“There’s a huge amount of work happening concurrently. But the FIA and F1 are getting daily updates of where things are at and it’s progressing very, very quickly.”

“There’s a lot to do. There’s nothing to deny there. I think everyone will acknowledge there’s a lot to do. But I’m still confident of the race going ahead, no problems.”

Jeddah Corniche Circuit track map, 2021
Track data: Jeddah Corniche Circuit
Before taking over as F1 race director in 2019 Masi was involved in other new track projects which were completed at short notice before holding their first event. They included construction of the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam, South Korea, which received approval to hold its first race in 2010 just nine days before F1 practice began at the venue.

“I think there’s always an element of worrying with everything but I’m quite confident,” said Masi.

“Particularly having been involved in Korea in 2010 which was the last one that was talked about. And I think India was talked about and both of those went off, no problems at all, and I’m quite confident that Saudi will be exactly the same.”

Masi was adamant no compromises will be made with the safety standards at the circuit. “They will comply with every safety requirement, I’m very confident of that,” he stated. “Very confident.”

Jeddah Corniche Circuit construction, 2021
The approach to the final corner at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2021

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
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30 comments on “FIA sure Jeddah track will be ready for first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix”

  1. Even if they do finish it on time, I imagine the track conditions will be less than ideal.

    1. In fact, what he meant was: “We are going to race there, no matter the track condition.”

      1. Jonathan Parkin
        9th November 2021, 16:23

        I’m remembering the first race in Korea and the fact that it had the second longest Safety Car start in history

        1. It’s “I remember” actually 🤨

          I remember the first Korean race was held on a building site, with an absurdly-dangerous pit exit

          1. Actually, it can also be “I’m remembering.” Funnily enough a lot of people can multitask.

    2. It is going to be dusty!

  2. I’m not worried for now.

    1. Because you’re not a journalist, gay, or a woman ?

      1. @falken None of those but nothing to do with anything, LOL.

      2. @falken interesting of you to describe literally the person here who goes to Saudi regularly

  3. “They will comply with every human rights requirement, I’m not very confident of that,” he stated. “Not very confident.”

    1. Yeah, quite

  4. I guess the obvious question is, what happens if it’s not ready? To have a round cancelled could be potentially championship-deciding, given the closeness of both title fights this year, and would be less than ideal.

    I wonder if it would be an option to go back to Bahrain at short notice, or to double up at Qatar or even Abu Dhabi.

    1. I guess they will somehow make it “ready regardless @red-andy. Remeber how the Korean track was only barely finished the first year? I guess this will be only a tad worse. Grandstands – who needs them. VIP Areas, meh, put it to COVID restrictions. Draining, cables, piping, wall finishing etc. all can probably be done without.

      And given what is at risk, I guess every Sky or F1TV reporter will be full of praise for how fast this “incredible track” was finished etc.

      Yeah, they could probably do a double in Abu Dhabi. Or Bahrain. But that would be too big a loss of face to happen I guess.

      1. Their lives are at risk of they don’t praise it, so…

    2. Remember Spa? They’ll come up with something to dish out points and prevent breaking of a contract.

  5. So… if the race does not happen, can we have the Sakhir GP instead?

    1. @Pedro Andrade Not at this short notice anymore. Lead time would probably be insufficient for marshal availability.

  6. Regardless whether it’s finished or not, it’s very odd to basically have the first ever event the fastest cars in Motorsport. I mean quite frankly completely non-sensical. These tracks should at least have some track days first to iron out any issues. It’s kind of reckless if I’m honest, I remember at Korea with the lorry on track during a race for example!

    1. Also I feel for Masi in a way, there’s not much he can do about it. Those taking the money at the top are solely to blame should anything bad happen during the weekend. Of course they won’t see it like that.

    2. @john-h I agree. I’ve mentioned this here on before, but maximizing everything for an early-2022 inaugural event (especially considering the early-season phase was the preference over late-season anyway) than a somewhat rushed late-2021 debut would’ve been wiser.
      Unfortunately, impatience hit & that’s evident in the present track readiness situation.

  7. On other news, the deaths of numerous labourers hidden from public.

    1. ‘In’

  8. José Lopes da Silva
    9th November 2021, 21:49

    Surely they have increased the headcount to meet the goals, let’s hope heads won’t roll if they fail.

    1. Do you mean headcount or bodycount??

  9. Well, at least drivers will abide track limits… or drown.

  10. If it’s not done in time the foreign workers won’t get their passports back. The crown prince might even have some of them chopped into bits. It will get finished.

  11. just have to get a few hundred more slaves and political prisoners to work!

  12. He would say that, wouldn’t he.

    What would be news-worthy is if Masi said it’s not going to be ready. Let’s face it, it’s clearly going to be in a terrible state even if it is “finished” in time.

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