The new Jeddah F1 track: Is it ready and is it any good?
December 3 2021 , 11:24 am
With images showing just how much construction work was still ongoing in the corniche area north of Jeddah, comments from the championship’s bosses were always explicit that the ‘track’ would be sorted on time.
The inference from that was that a lot of the intended infrastructure around the circuit that is normal for F1 venues – like offices, hospitality units and other facilities – were lagging a bit behind.
Was F1 heading into a bit of a South Korean Grand Prix situation where chiefs had talked of a track that blasted through a city complex – but the city never got built before the venue was abandoned?
A quick walk around the Jeddah facilities has shown why F1 spoke the way it did, for it’s fair to say that there remains a lot to be done for the entire venue to be complete and declared fully finished.
So while the paddock itself looks great, and the garages all ready for teams like anywhere else, a quick walk to the bottom end of the pitlane highlights how much work is still underway.
Peering through the paddock fence, with mud and building materials still piled up as workers bid to finish things, there is no doubt it will still take some months of effort before the full Jeddah facility can be declared complete.
But ultimately it not really a surprise that things have gone to the wire, with work on the venue only beginning in April. The eight-month period is the shortest time ever that an F1 track has gone from idea to reality.
Although the work-in-progress aspects may matter to the perfectionists, let’s not forget that it being a night race means that much of the unfinished work will remain hidden from the TV shots.
“It has been an impressive journey for all involved to make the first FIA F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix a reality, and the progress that I have seen on each of my visits over recent months has been remarkable,” Masi said.
“The circuit itself has now been completed to a high level and complies with FIA Grade 1 standards that we require for hosting a grand prix.
“The Jeddah Corniche Circuit will provide an interesting new challenge for the drivers and teams, and I’m looking forward to another exciting weekend as this fantastic 2021 F1 season draws closer to its conclusion.”