Saudi Arabian GP CEO explains why drivers will be ‘quite pleased’

Several track changes have been made to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit to improve driver safety.

Formula 1 drivers are set to be “really quite pleased” with the Jeddah Corniche Circuit this weekend, following modifications made to “improve the sight lines”.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix boss Martin Whitaker believes his team have done an excellent job to further improve the fastest street circuit on the calendar, with things such as ‘rumble strips’ having been added to the circuit.

The vast majority of the turns have had rumble strips fitted, whilst a number of kerbs have also been replaced to the harshness of the ones used in the last two years.

Drivers will be greeted with smoother kerbs, which will hopefully reduce the chances of Mick Schumacher’s high-speed crash in Jeddah being replicated.

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Several fences have also been moved backwards to improve corner visibility for the drivers.

Whitaker run through the changes made and how the “overall look and feel of the circuit” has changed as a result.

“The drivers are going to be I think, really quite pleased because obviously the first time they get a chance to have a look will be when they walk around on Thursday,” Whitaker told the F1 Nation podcast.

“But during the winter months, we’ve again made some quite interesting changes to improve the sight lines.

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“So, on five of the corners, we’ve moved the fences back by anything between two and seven metres. So in some places, it’s quite a marked change to the overall look and feel of the circuit.”

The changes will likely mean that laptimes will be even faster this season, with higher speeds expected in some of the areas where visibility has been improved.

Whilst not a huge amount of time is expected to be found, Whitaker believes the drivers will have more confidence in their cars given that they’ll be able to see more.

“It will reduce the lap time somewhat, but probably not an awful lot,” he said.

“I mean, effectively, you could argue that improve sight lines could even give drivers greater competence through some of the corners.

“So we might see even greater speeds through some of the corners.”

Interestingly, the changes to the kerbs has come as a result of the circuit having initially been designed for the previous era of F1 car.

The new kerbs are more suited to the new aerodynamic so should therefore offer the drivers a better experience.

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“One of the issues, if you remember was that the track was designed and constructed in the ’21 era car, and therefore when we got to the ’22 era car – I imagine that there will be other circuits who faced this issue as well – the kerbs did not work well with the modern era car and as a result of that ’22 design,” Whitaker explained.

“And so to that end, we’ve changed pretty much all of the kerbs as well.

“They’re much smoother up and a much decreased angle on the backside of the kerb so that you won’t get a car effectively losing traction when it gets on top of the kerb.”