Saudi Arabia is keen to make an impact on the sporting landscape and, as part of those plans, has put together the fastest street circuit Formula 1 has ever seen, the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
As well as being fast, the circuit’s 27 corners is the most the drivers will encounter all year, helping one of F1’s newest circuits stand out from the crowd.
Although it’s only been on the schedule a short while, Jeddah has quickly developed a reputation for chaotic races with world title rivals Lewis Hamilton and infamously clashing in the inaugural race in 2021
Sadly, the clock is already ticking on the Jeddah Corniche’s time on the F1 calendar as construction on a new facility at Qiddiya continues, but the venue looks likely to leave a lasting impression.
|2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
|Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah
|How to watch
|Sky Sports F1
When it was revealed Qiddiya wouldn’t be ready to host a race for some time, Jeddah stepped in to offer its services.
After some research via Google Maps, F1 and the Tilke company settled upon using the city’s coastal resort, the Corniche - 12km from the centre of Jeddah.
Stretching for 30km along the coast, racing through the Corniche offers a view of the Red Sea and the outskirts of Jeddah, all with the sun setting in the background with the race run mainly at night.
Having only been confirmed as the host of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in 2020 and with the track layout unveiled in March 2021, organisers faced a race against time to get the circuit finished ahead of the first race in December 2021.
Work on the venue only began in April of that year and while many of the facilities are temporary due to it being a street circuit, construction of a pit building, paddock area and the laying of the track surface still needed completing.
All the vital aspects were finished in time, although some non-essential facilities weren’t completed before race weekend, while work has since been carried out on the circuit to bring it up to scratch, including amending poor sight lines in places.
Although the track is long and features a season-high number of corners, the high-speed nature of the track means a lap doesn’t last all that long.
In the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, laps were lasting a little over 90 seconds with drivers at full throttle for nearly 80% of a lap.
The Jeddah Corniche Circuit made its Formula 1 debut in 2021, hosting the penultimate race of the season in December of that year.
The track is expected to remain the home of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix until at least 2025, after which the race is scheduled to be moved to a permanent track at Qiddiya
No driver has won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix more than once so far with three different winners of the race in the three years it's been on the calendar.
Hamilton holds the record for the fastest lap during a race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, going round in a time of 1:30.734 in 2021.
Hamilton also produced the fastest lap the circuit has ever seen that same year in qualifying, blasting round the track in 1:27.51.
Despite being a street circuit and only a temporary home for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, several other classes of motorsport have used the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
F2 and the Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East both use the venue currently, while the World Touring Car Cup paid a visit in 2022.
GT and GT4 racing are set to come to Jeddah in 2024.
As one of the driest countries in the world with just 59mm of rain each year, the climate in Jeddah is consistent in its nature.
Every race has been held in hot and dry conditions, although temperatures, which are 29C in the day, do drop for qualifying and the actual race itself, which are both held after sunset.