Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022

Saudi Arabian GP to stay at Jeddah until 2027 as work on Qiddiya begins

2023 F1 season

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The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will remain at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit until 2027 while construction of the Qiddiya circuit begins, race promoters have announced.

The street circuit in Jeddah was intended to host the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix initially before the race moved to a new venue in Qiddiyah as part of a major entertainment complex under development in the area. The Qiddiya project was announced by crown prince Mohammad bin Salman in July 2017. The vast development, situated 40 kilometres from Riyadh, will cover an area of 334 square kilometres.

Saudi Motorsport Company CEO Martin Whitaker says the Jeddah circuit has undergone development in order to allow the venue to continue hosting the race over the next five years.

“It’s important that we future proof the Jeddah track and for this reason we have again been working with the FIA and Formula 1 to ensure that we have a circuit that will allow us to stage the sport in Jeddah while work begins on the track in Qiddiya,” said Whitaker.

“The Qiddiya automotive centre is being designed to lead the world in Formula 1 circuit design and entertainment. A unique and exciting project, Qiddiya will be a location that everyone will want to visit but right now and in the immediate future the focus and eyes of the world will be on Jeddah and the Red Sea coastline in the month of March.”

In order to avoid clashing with the observance of Ramadan, the 2024 edition of the race will be moved to avoid falling between March 10 and April 9th 2024. As previously reported, the Jeddah circuit has undergone modifications to its layout over the off-season to reduce corner speeds in the final sector and improve safety ahead of its next race on March 19th this year, where it will host the second round of the championship.

“We have worked closely with Formula 1 and the FIA to make some small changes to the corners, essentially to improve sight-lines for the drivers,” Whitaker explained.

“When you’re travelling at 200mph and are just a couple of inches from the ground, having visibility for the next section of the racetrack is critical. So at a number of corners we have moved the barriers back — in some cases as far as five to seven metres — to help with that forward visibility. While the drivers enjoy the challenge of this track, we understand there are certain things we can do to give them more confidence.

“While the configuration of the track is exactly the same, we have made slight revisions by tightening up the radius of Turns 21, 22 and 23 — the quick left-right before the back straight. The impact of that will reduce the speed into the corner by around 30-50km/h.”

After the 2022 race weekend was marred by a missile attack on a nearby oil plant, Whitaker insists that safety will be assured for the upcoming race weekend now less than two months away.

“Safety is of paramount importance to everyone who attends the race – teams, drivers, spectators, guests alike,” said Whitaker.

“Discussions with the drivers and team principals has been a primary objective and I would like to think that the strong messages that we and the authorities have communicated have given everyone travelling to Jeddah the assurances that Saudi, like so many of the other races on the F1 calendar, is totally safe and that the hospitality of the Saudi people is foremost in the minds of all visitors.”

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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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  • 22 comments on “Saudi Arabian GP to stay at Jeddah until 2027 as work on Qiddiya begins”

    1. It’s been only two years and I’m already bored of this nonsensical series of flowy turns that produce absolutely no racing whatsoever and just fill time.

      1. This seems to be only goal now. Fill time.

      2. Lasts year’s “will they or won’t they” drs activation battle between LeClerc and Verstappen was quite entertaining. Unnerving and dangerous as the track may be, it does provide plenty of “on the limit” action. All of that in addition to the unintended fireworks display nearby made it a memorable race. No issues

        1. Lewisham Milton
          19th January 2023, 19:47

          Quite entertaining, like Rashford and other footballers pushing VAR and the offside laws to the limit, or the Fonz jumping over a shark.

      3. Agreed. Dull. That’s surely the reason for the proximity of the barriers to the racing line – it’s the only prospect of livening up a total borefest.

    2. I hope it’s more safer as the years go on like I nearly vomited during its first race because I was so nervous that someone was going to have a big crash which thankfully no one has got injured but still the track is meh the controversy last year outside the track needs some work and I guess human rights but that will never be fixed because it’s F1

    3. Dear F1,

      Fans don’t want these races. Stop putting money ahead of the sport.

      Thanks,
      F1 fan

      1. Dear Fan,

        No money, no F1.

        Love,
        F1

        1. What a dumb take. People said that about tobacco money. Now it’s blood money and it is being justified in the same way.

          1. People said that about tobacco money.

            And they were right. F1 teams and competition suffered enormously when that funding source was removed. Some teams folded or were sold as a result.

          2. So by your own admission, the loss of a major funder of the sport left and was replaced by something worse – the “blood money” you refer to.

            That’s a dumb take? So you remove that and then what happens?

            1. @bradders quite a few teams reported that, over the longer term, removing the reliance on tobacco sponsorship has actually benefited the sport.

              With the tobacco industry being seen in a rather negative light in a number of markets, having a rather prominent sponsorship package from the tobacco industry acted as a deterrent for other sponsors that did not want to be associated with a tobacco company.

              Ferrari, despite their long term partnership with Philip Morris, ultimately decided that it was better for them to cut their ties with them because it was hurting their efforts to attract sponsors from other sectors, not to mention that the partnership with Philip Morris was coming under increasing legal scrutiny due to stricter regulations on tobacco advertising.

              As for the advertising from Saudi Arabia, it could be pointed out that the sport was not exactly short of money before those deals. Furthermore, the main party benefiting from most of those deals aren’t the teams or the sport as a whole – the shift to the modern budget cap system and the changes to the prize money have resulted in a slight reduction in the funds being paid to the teams, so the additional revenue from those deals is not actually going to them.

              It’s also the case that, under the current financial structure of the sport, some of those payments are paid directly to the commercial rights holder, with the teams not seeing any of the money – for example, trackside sponsorship falls into that category. If that funding was to go, it’s Liberty Media’s dividend payments from FOM that would be most directly impacted.

    4. This is good news for me. One of the best new tracks in a long time so I’ll be sad to see it go.

      1. Old news, as I read about Qiddiya track’s postponement until 2028 last year already.
        2024 was the initial plan before postponement to ’26, followed by the separate one to ’28.

        1. I don’t know how my post ended up as a reply despite definitely typing & sending it separately.

    5. I think I remember seeing that the new track in Qiddiyah is planned to be really long, over 8km.

      I don’t know if that is still the plan, but it would be cool if true.

      I will miss the Jeddah track, absolute madness and quite dangerous. A bit of a rarity for top flight motorsport.

      1. @napierrailton
        The qiddiya track design take is modern day full Nurburgring

    6. The people of the west believe in democracy and freedom, but not as much as money.

      1. The more money they have, the more democratic and free things are.

      2. @M If you genuinely believe that you are incredibly naive.

        Any of the actions of the US government over the last 25 years should have taught you that…or indeed the mere fact that the UK simultaneously the Saudi-led war in Yemen, while selling arms to the Saudi’s and providing aid to Yemen.

    7. So we have to suffer this awful car park for more years.

      So many far better circuits out there with history and character yet we have to suffer these flat, featureless, characterless car parks that all feel very samey and all have the same characteristics now.

    8. Let’s say this track is build in Czech and all this SA nonsense is not reaching F1. This could be seen as a replacement for Baku. F1 could keep them both as they want to focus on more on city tracks. Let’s say this is build in Thailand. Reaction could be quite a same as in Saudi but Albon could be happy and as he is thai it would make more sense than Saudi. South Africa? I think at least we get the race in Africa layout isn’t that important. Usa? Another MiamiLasVegascopycat….

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