F1: Saudia Arabian GP Preview
The new F1 season started in dramatic fashion. There were some great, feel-good stories up and down the field at the first race and Ferrari did a strong job to claim a 1-2 finish.
Now the series heads to Jeddah this coming weekend. The second race of the year is an opportunity to see the 2022 cars at a very different type of track. The nature of the corners and the long straights in Jeddah will introduce some new challenges
The series was there just a few months ago for the first Formula One race in Saudi Arabia, and Lewis Hamilton used his ‘trick’ Mercedes power unit to win.
Once more the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will be held at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, a high-speed wall-lined track that features a season-most 27 turns. The track stretches and snakes its way along the coast of the Red Sea, with the banked turn 13 and hairpin turn 27 book ending the outer reaches of the 6.1km circuit.
An average lap speed of 253.984km/h was required for pole position, making it the second-fastest circuit on the calendar, slower only than Italy’s Autodromo Nazionale Monza. For Jeddah’s 2022 return minor revisions have taken place to the track on safety grounds, most notably to improve apex sight lines for drivers, while turn 27 has been widened by 1.5 meters.
Last year’s inaugural race featured multiple stoppages and interruptions.
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Facts
- The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix track is located on the Corniche, a waterfront area in Jeddah next to the Red Sea. The waterfront location presents similar challenges to Abu Dhabi with sand blowing onto the track and changes in wind direction from day to night.
- The Jeddah Corniche Circuit has the most corners of any track on the F1 calendar with 27: 16 left-handers and 11 right-handers. This does make it more challenging for the team and drivers to get up to speed during the practice sessions.
- The Saudi Arabian GP venue is the second-longest track in F1 at 6.174 km. Spa-Francorchamps is the only track that is longer (7.004 km). This means energy management is tricky and puts more focus on the MGU-H and hybrid system performance.
- As we saw in 2021, Jeddah has a higher risk of Safety Cars compared to other tracks because of its street track nature, with incidents taking longer to clear and fast corners causing bigger incidents, while a longer track means there is more potential for mistakes. There have been some changes made for 2022, to increase run-off areas and improve safety.
- Ahead of the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah was billed as the ‘fastest street circuit in the world’ and that proved to be the case, with average speeds of around 250 km/h – higher than Baku, which isn’t far off, but Jeddah is helped by having some corners that are taken flat-out or within DRS zones.
- Drivers reach over 310 km/h three times on the long straights during Qualifying in Jeddah. With three DRS zones, too, it has one of the highest percentages of lap distance spent at full throttle, with 80%.
- Turn 13 has a 12% gradient, with banked corners opening up more lines and helping to build momentum onto the next sweeping, fast section.
- Turn 2 is the circuit’s slowest corner, taken at around 85 km/h, while the quickest are the 315 km/h Turns 21 and 26 – both located on straights that include DRS zones.
- By the time F1 cars hit the track in Saudi Arabia on Friday, it’ll have been just 111 days (three months and 21 days) since they were last racing in Jeddah.
- The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is a night race, so alongside lighting the buildings and bridges, there are expected to be over 600 light posts illuminating the track.
- Last year’s race in Saudi started at half past the hour, but this has now fallen back in line with other races, starting on the hour this year.
- With 2021 being the first race at the Jeddah track, the surface of the circuit was very sandy and ‘green’ – meaning the track evolution was high and grip levels were increasing with every session. We expect this to be very similar this year.
All Times Eastern
|Friday, March 25, 2022||Location||TV Times||Network|
|F1 Saudi Arabia GP Practice 1||Jeddah||9:55am – 11:00am (Live)||ESPN2|
|F1 Saudi Arabia GP Practice 2||Jeddah||12:55pm – 2:00pm (Live)||ESPN2|
|Saturday, March 26, 2022||Location||TV Times||Network|
|F1 Saudi Arabia GP Practice 3||Jeddah||9:55am – 11:00am (Live)||ESPN2|
|F1 Saudi Arabia GP Qualifying||Jeddah||12:55pm – 2:00pm (Live)||ESPN2|
|Sunday, March 27, 2022||Location||TV Times||Network|
|F1 Saudi Arabia GP Pre-Race||Jeddah||11:30am – 12:55pm (Live)||ESPN|
|F1 Saudi Arabia GP||Jeddah||12:55pm – 3:00pm (Live)||ESPN|
|F1 Saudi Arabia GP||Jeddah||6:30pm – 9:00pm (Replay)||ESPNews|
|F1 Saudi Arabia GP||Jeddah||10:30pm – 1:00am (Replay)||ESPN2|
F1 Note: All races, qualifying and practice sessions also will stream live on the ESPN App and will be available for on-demand viewing.