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Saudi Arabia addresses track layout concerns for 2022 F1 race

Autosport logo Autosport 27/1/2022 Jonathan Noble

The Jeddah circuit delivered a spectacular event last year, but a number of drivers expressed safety concerns about the high-speed last section of the street track.

The biggest worry was that the nature of the barriers limited visibility in some of the fast sections, which posed a safety risk in terms of drivers not being able to see far enough ahead of them if there was an incident.

Speaking about the latest developments at the track, the race’s CEO Martin Whitaker has explained that work will be done to address these concerns and improve visibility prior to the event's return in March.

“We have been striving to improve on some areas for our second event,” he explained. “Firstly, there are going to be one or two slight changes to the track.

“These tweaks are directly related to a drivers’ sight-line from the cockpit. It’s minimal work, but it will help improve forward visibility in a couple of corners. Secondly, we will make some small modifications to the barriers that will favour the lines the drivers take around the course.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B © Autosport.com Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

With much of the infrastructure surrounding the venue not finished in time for last December’s race, more recent work should ensure things are much improved this time around – especially for fans attending the event.

PLUS: Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer

Whitaker added: “There are a couple of areas that we are working on to enhance the experience for the fans who return to the track in March. We are planning on shifting some of the angles of the grandstands to improve visibility and, at the same time, we plan to increase the size and develop the Fan Zones, which proved to be extremely popular.

“We had to get the whole facility ready in a short space of time, but now with this small gap to our second race we are better placed to understand our limitations. Because of our location, we can’t change too much because the track is positioned on a narrow strip of land next to the sea, but we are certainly looking at the circuit’s entrance and exit.

“Due to the confines of the track’s location, traffic management was an issue and there were characteristics of the road system that created unnecessary delays. There are lessons we have learnt, and we have the time now to get these aspects resolved to make sure everyone who returns will have an equally good, if not better, experience.”

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