SMC announces changes to Jeddah Corniche Circuit ahead of March F1 race

Circuit changes have been made in cooperation with Tilke GmbH and with consultation from F1, FIA, and drivers

The Saudi Motorsport Company (SMC), the promoter of the Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabia Grand Prix 2023, has said that further changes will be made to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit ahead of the return of the global motor sporting event to the city in March 2023.

Located alongside the Red Sea coast, the Jeddah Corniche Circuit is home to the world’s fastest street circuit. The Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2023 will return to Jeddah from 17-20 March and will be the third time the race has come to the city.

The changes have been made in cooperation with Tilke GmbH, following consultation with F1, the FIA, and drivers. They aim to improve driver sight-lines in specific areas of the circuit, while also refashioning a variety of kerbs, so as to deliver a ‘smooth, safer, and more exciting race’, with a new era of cars, the SMC noted.

In March 2022, Averda said it won the race to provide waste services at the Saudi F1 Grand Prix.

Amongst the most significant changes is the addition of ‘Rumble Lines’ at turns three, 14, 19, 20, and 21, SMC said. A Rumble Line is defined as an adhesive on the ground similar to ones used on highways giving the driver notice that they are out of lane – in F1 terms this effectively ‘shakes’ the car which causes traction to be lost, subsequently slowing it down.

Bevelled kerbs have also been added in place of steel ones at turns four, eight, 10, 11, 17 and 23. The changes come in line with new recommendations brought about after the introduction of the new F1 cars at the beginning of the year, the statement added.

CEO Martin Whitaker said, “The evolution of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit continues apace and we at SMC are excited to add these further tweaks to our magnificent track as a result of positive consultation with the FIA, F1 and the drivers. The previous two races here in Jeddah have already confirmed the JCC as the world’s fastest and most exciting street circuit, and these new developments will only add to the spectacle that fans can expect to see next March when F1 returns to our city.”

In July 2022, the JCDC inked a MoU to design a luxury cruise terminal for the Jeddah Central project.

“It is vital for any circuit to listen and learn from those racing on it and use their feedback to grow and improve at all times. We are confident these changes will lead to even faster, more exciting and – crucially – safe racing and we can’t wait to see the world’s greatest drivers battle it out here under the lights again in 2023.”

SMC said to further improve driver sight-lines and visibility, turns 14 and 20 have shifted the fence wall on the right- and left-hand sides respectively by 7.5m (T14) and 5m (T20), with an additional Rumble Line implemented in the verge between the white line and fence wall of these widenings. Additionally, the fence wall has been adjusted at turns eight and 10 to give drivers more visibility of the turn ahead.

Finally, turns 22 and 23 – one of the main ‘action’ sequences on the circuit – has seen its ‘S’ shape squeezed via the adjustment of the fence at T23 and addition of a bevelled kerb, with the aim of slowing down the drivers by approximately 50km/h.

In September 2022, Lifestyle Developers said it had begun construction on its Vue project in Jeddah.

In addition to the on-track changes, the wider JCC complex is also continuing to grow into a state-of-the- art home of sport, leisure, and entertainment, the statement concluded.

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