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Formula 1 makes dramatic Saudi Arabian debut

Formula 1 makes dramatic Saudi Arabian debut
December 6, 2021

The first ever Saudi Arabian F1 Grand Prix has seen world champion driver Lewis Hamilton beat championship rival Max Verstappen in a thrilling race overnight.

Held in the city of Jeddah on the Kingdom's Red Sea coast, the staging of the eagerly anticipated race followed months of planning and frantic activity to complete the new Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

With some foreign media outlets suggesting in recent week that the Circuit, the world’s fastest and longest street track, would not be finished on time, the race was successfully raced under lights at night.

Work on the track only began last April (no F1 circuit has ever been constructed so quickly), which is a testament to the dedication of the Saudi Grand Prix’s workforce, who have been striving to deliver the racetrack on time.

The completion of the Circuit was accomplished under the strictest health and safety conditions, with millions of man-hours of work taking place on site with no serious incidents. All work was carried out according to Saudi Arabian Labour Laws, guaranteeing the protection of the rights of workers on-site, including the limiting of working hours in direct sunlight. All workers were required to participate in the ATLAS safety induction program.

The promoter worked with 3,000 on-site contractors from approximately 50 companies. While many of these partners are Saudi Arabian, the event organisers also used suppliers from Germany, Austria, the UK, Spain and Italy.

Developed in partnership with Tilke Engineers and F1’s own Motorsports Division, the circuit’s design has made strong use of the long, sweeping roads along the Corniche area, utilizing this feature and existing roads as much as possible, resulting in one of the most challenging circuits to feature in Formula One.

The circuit includes a record number of corners (27 in total: 16 left and 11 right), in addition to three potential high-speed DRS sections and a 12-degree banked corner at Turn 13.

Key elements of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit:

  • The Jeddah Corniche Circuit is 6,175 km long, making it the second longest circuit on the calendar after Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and the longest street track in Formula One
  • Average speeds of 252km/h are expected, making it the fastest street circuit on the calendar, with top speeds estimated to peak at 322km/h between Turns 25-27
  • More than 30 nationalities have helped to build the Jeddah Corniche Circuit
  • More than 300 engineers have been involved
  • When the circuit is complete, about 2,000 trees will be planted around the circuit
  • 37,000 tons of asphalt have been used to make the track
  • The circuit has required 600,000 tons of cement, 30,000 square meters of bricks, and more than 1,400 tons of glass
  • Construction included building seven stands overlooking the track
  • Seven permanent landmarks and statues have been positioned inside the circuit
  • Lighting levels are set at 1,500 lux, with more than 200,000 meters of cabling laid to ensure everything is lit to perfection
  • The circuit designers are extending the popular Corniche walkway along the circuit and populating it with a series of outdoor recreational opportunities for children and adults including new walkways and cycling paths and children’s playgrounds. There will also be family-friendly restaurants, public restrooms and increased parking space.

Image: Action from the Saudi Arabian F1 Grand Prix. Credit: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Operation Company.

About the author

Nigel Benton

Co-founder/Publisher, Australasian Leisure Management

Nigel Benton is the co-founder and Publisher of Australasian Leisure Management, Australia and New Zealand’s only magazine for professionals in all areas of the leisure industry. Having established the magazine in 1997, shortly after his relocation to Australia, he has managed its readership rising to over 11,500 and its acceptance as the industry journal for professionals in aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues.

In 2020, he launched the new Asian Leisure Business website.

Among a range of published works and features, his comments on a Blog (blogspot) from 2007 to 2011, when this website went live in its current form, may be interesting to reflect back on.

Click here to connect with him via LinkedIn.

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