Saudi Arabian GP: Preview - Haas

30/11/2021
NEWS STORY

Uralkali Haas F1 Team will add another venue to its experience card with the Jeddah Corniche Circuit hosting Formula 1's maiden Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Round 21 of the 2021 season.

Saudi Arabia's inaugural grand prix will take place on the Jeddah Corniche, adjacent to the shore of the Red Sea, with a lengthy street-based wall-lined course designed to provide a stern challenge for teams and drivers. Saudi Arabia will become the 34th different country, and Jeddah Corniche Circuit the 75th different venue, visited by Formula 1. As a result, everyone will be starting from scratch in Jeddah, with no prior experience, though teams are well-versed in getting to grips with new locations in recent seasons.

The Jeddah Corniche Circuit will feature 27 turns, the most on the current calendar, and stretch out across 6.175km. That includes the 180-degree banked turn 13, at the far end of the circuit, as well as a section of track that takes drivers between the sea and a lagoon. That makes it the second-longest track on the 2021 schedule, behind only Belgium's Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

Jeddah is also set to be the fastest street-based course on the calendar, with several lengthy full-throttle sections and high-speed curves leading to projections of an average lap speed, in qualifying trim, of 250km/h. The length of the full-throttle segments means there will be three DRS zones, aiding the prospect of overtaking, with the circuit having been specially designed for Formula 1.

That makes Jeddah an unconventional street circuit while the decision to hold the event at night means it joins Bahrain, Qatar and upcoming finale Abu Dhabi in taking place beneath floodlights in 2021.

The penultimate race of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship brings us to the coastal resort of Jeddah, for the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. It's a track that boasts speeds of 252km/h - making it the fastest street circuit ever seen in the sport - as well as featuring a record-breaking 27 corners. What's your assessment of the track and what are your expectations going into the race?
Guenther Steiner: "I think it's one of those things where a few years ago when you thought we would go to Jeddah with such an exciting race track it would be something you wouldn't believe. I've seen the track on paper and in my opinion, it looks amazing and something completely new. If you always think more or better cannot be done, we are proven wrong once again. Our expectations - I don't really know as I haven't seen enough of it - so we'll get to them once we've done a few laps."

It's the second consecutive new addition to the calendar, and the first-ever event in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As Formula 1 visits new territories, what would you like spectators to take away from the sport, especially younger fans?
GS: "I would like that they take away the fact it is a global sport, there are no limits - we are open to working with people who want to showcase their country that wants to open up to the world. I think the sport brings a lot to the country and the sport takes a lot from the country. We are always finding new territories where there is still a big demand for the sport, especially with young people."

The penultimate race of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship brings us to the coastal resort of Jeddah, for the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Organizers have said average speeds around the circuit are set to be 250km/h - making it the fastest street circuit ever seen in the sport. Can you give us your thoughts on tackling this new and exciting challenge?
Nikita Mazepin: "Reading this, it seems like a very tough circuit! I think we will need to get ready with our necks after a long season, I feel that my body has really adapted to this car so I'm looking forward to seeing what the track holds for us."

Another unique element of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit is that it will feature a record-breaking 27 corners. With many fast, sweeping bends compared to traditional 90-degrees corners, which does your style of racing prefer and do you think it will be a test on tires?
NM: "It depends on what the tarmac is like to decide on tires, but it will be very technical and lap times will vary between different cars. I think maybe it's going to be a good weekend for us."

With three DRS zones featuring on this street circuit, there's going to be plenty of opportunity for action and overtaking. Do you think the VF-21 can get involved in some of those battles as the season reaches its climax?
NM: "We've seen three DRS zones this year before however it might be a new challenge with longs straights. We're quite fast on straights this year so again, it could be a good weekend."

The penultimate race of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship brings us to the coastal resort of Jeddah, for the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Organizers have said average speeds around the circuit are set to be 250km/h - making it the fastest street circuit ever seen in the sport. Can you give us your thoughts on tackling this new and exciting challenge?
Mick Schumacher: "250km/h sounds pretty fast so I'm definitely excited to see what it's going to be like driving around the circuit. Nobody has driven around the track before so to tackle it, it's important to get up to pace in FP1 and find your way around, to get the philosophy of the track right. It's always a challenge I feel to find the right approach to a new track and that's the same for everybody."

Another unique element of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit is that it will feature a record-breaking 27 corners. With many fast, sweeping bends compared to traditional 90-degrees corners, which does your style of racing prefer and do you think it will be a test on tires?
MS: "If we get down to style, Brazil is probably the best track in terms of flow that fits to me. I don't know how Jeddah looks, I haven't seen it fully yet but it's going to be interesting finding how it feels for us. There is no real preference to me - I just enjoy driving so therefore I'm looking forward to getting out there and experiencing it for myself."

With three DRS zones featuring on this street circuit, there's going to be plenty of opportunity for action and overtaking. Do you think the VF-21 can get involved in some of those battles as the season reaches its climax?
MS: "Hopefully we're going to be involved in the overtaking and be in a position where we can fight. The hope is there and for sure we will try our best to get up to pace and fight with some other cars."

Article from Pitpass (http://www.pitpass.com):

Published: 30/11/2021
Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2022. All rights reserved.