Organisers of the inaugural Saudi Arabia Formula 1 have unveiled the layout for its track, with suggestion already spreading it being the fastest street track in the sport.
The Jeddah Street Circuit is 6.175km from start to finish, making it the second-longest circuit on the calendar after Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
Despite having 27 turns along the way, the new circuit will reportedly have average speeds of 250ph and is billed as an exciting, high-speed challenge with the backdrop of the Red Sea.
However, overtaking on the new circuit could still prove to be very difficult. Out of the 27 turns, only six require braking. The rest are either mere kinks or long sweeping bends that drivers can attack at full speed.
An idea to mitigate the risk of having a processional, non-overtaking race, three DRS zones have been mooted. Still, each will require some chance to get by with all but the third having a heavy braking zone at the end of the straight.
Favoured track architect Herman Tilke has been tasked with designing the layout, with an early simulation portraying what a lap may look like from a driver’s perspective.
“We’ve been able to build a really exciting street circuit,” F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn said.
“We don’t want Mickey Mouse circuits. We don’t want those old classic street circuits where you turn 90 [degrees. We want fast, sweeping circuits.
“We want circuits which are going to challenge the drivers, and they’re going to love it. We want circuits where we can have wheel-to-wheel racing.
“This is a circuit that is utilising some existing infrastructure. But we have been lucky in that there’s been areas we’ve been able to build from scratch. So, we’ve been able to build some really exciting parts of the circuit.”
The simulation video proved that the circuit is very narrow. The close nature of the walls do enhance the sensation of speed but could reduce the level of side-to-side racing.
Of particular interest is the final corner – turn 27. A curved approach straight from a DRS zone, Brawn says the final corner will have some degree of banking too it.
The circuit is set to be finished construction in November, with changes to the layout still a possibility.
The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is scheduled to be the penultimate race on the 2021 calendar in December, with the race set to be held under lights.