Lando Norris, McLaren, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2021

Jeddah defines track changes in response to drivers’ safety concerns

2022 F1 season

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Organisers of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix have confirmed the Jeddah Corniche Circuit is being modified to address safety concerns raised by drivers ahead of next month’s race.

The race which took place in December last year is the second round on the 2022 F1 calendar, on the weekend following the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Although referred to as a street circuit, the Jeddah track was purpose-built and produced one of the highest average lap speeds of any race last season. However the number of high speed corners with unsighted entries due to barrier placements around the track led to criticism from some drivers including Carlos Sainz Jnr and Sergio Perez, while Sebastian Vettel likened the circuit to ‘Suzuka with walls’.

With Saudi Arabia set to host its second grand prix in March, race organisers have announced a series of minor adjustments to the track to “help improve driver sightlines” in several corners around the course.

Mick Schumacher, Haas, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2021
Mick Schumacher crashed heavily at turn 22
Circuit barriers will be moved between one-and-a-half to two metres further back from the track at turns two and three as well as the flat-out right hander of turn 14, which follows the banked hairpin at the far end of the track. Barriers will also be moved through turn 21 on the approach to the braking zone of the fast left hand kink of turn 22, which was the scene of multiple accidents across the first race weekend in December.

The barriers at the apexes of turn four and turn 16 will be made shallower, to reduce the risk of drivers damaging their cars if they brush the wall, as will the apex of turn 22 and the fast right hand kink of turn 24 that follows almost immediately after.

At the end of the lap, the final hairpin of turn 27 will see the track widened and the barrier moved further away from the circuit to allow more room for potential overtaking attempts.

This year’s race will also feature an expanded fan zone, while the grandstand that sat alongside the final corner of turn 27 will be moved to directly overlook the first two corners. A new hotel and shopping complex planned to sit alongside the banked turn 13 remains under construction.

Next month’s race will also feature specially painted corner run-off areas that will use designs made by Jeddah pop artist Rex Chouk.

Jeddah Corniche Circuit track map, 2021
Jeddah Corniche Circuit track map, 2021

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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9 comments on “Jeddah defines track changes in response to drivers’ safety concerns”

  1. I don’t understand how Russia gets banished from racing, when Saudi does exactly the same thing in Yemen and is embraced by the West.

  2. Obviously the best change that could have been made would be to cancel the Grand Prix altogether. The circuit still doesn’t look appropriate for F1 cars. In particular, I can’t see them getting through an accident at turn 22 without red flags being needed – I doubt the changes in the preceding corner will affect this, as primarily what you’d need is more runoff at 22 to prevent barrier damage.

    1. @red-andy The T22 crash in the race most likely wouldn’t have led to red pre-2020.
      Car clearance & tech pro replacement/fixing could’ve been handled under SC entirely.
      The track itself, I don’t find inappropriate for F1 cars, so cancelling altogether would be overkill.
      The best temporary circuit ever, very enjoyable driving-wise, etc.

  3. To ban it altogether would be the best thing to do about these bigots.

  4. I’m looking forward to seeing what these minor tweaks will look like & how they’ll work IRL.
    The last corner exit limit will probably still be the barrier, even if moved about 1.5m to the right.

  5. Some good moves. I don’t quite understand what they mean is happening at T22, but moving the barriers out a little bit at T2 and especially T3 (which is where we had the big pile up last year I think?) I think is very smart. As Jerejj says, the wall will probably remain the outer limit at the final corner.

    Still not a huge fan of the circuit though.

  6. A terrible track and a few minor changes will do little I think to improve safety. As I said before let’s not blame the designer, it was designed for the brief given to them.

  7. F1 needs to do the right thing and cancel the event indefinitely and sever their relationship with Aramco. This is way worse than shell and marlboro.

  8. They may be tinkering with the probability of accidents, but this does very little to change the consequences of one.

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