The second round of the 2022 Formula One World Championship takes place this weekend in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia hosted its inaugural F1 race in 2021, and the site of the previous year’s race, the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, a street circuit located in the coastal city of Jeddah, will handle hosting duties once again.
The layout was designed by well-known circuit architect Hermann Tilke, and its 3.83-mile length is second only to the 4.35-mile long Spa-Francorchamps. However, Jeddah has the most corners of any F1 track, with 16 left-handers and 11 right-handers. It’s also the fastest of the street circuits, with the average speed last year approaching 155 mph.
The new surface from last year offers a good level of grip and reasonably contained levels of asphalt abrasion, which should lead to moderate wear and degradation. However, the waterfront location presents similar challenges to Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit, with sand blowing onto the track and changes in wind direction from day to night.
Jeddah Corniche Circuit, home of the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
The weather forecast calls for warm and dry conditions, but since the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is a night race the teams will have to deal with rapid temperature changes as the race progresses. Pirelli has nominated its P Zero White hard for C2, P Zero Yellow medium for C3, and P Zero Red soft for C4.
Going into Saturday’s qualifying session and Sunday’s race, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc leads the 2022 Drivers’ Championship with 26 points. Fellow Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz is second with 18 points and Mercedes-Benz AMG’s Lewis Hamilton is third with 15 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Ferrari leads with 44 points, versus the 27 of Mercedes and 10 of Haas. Last year’s winner in Saudi Arabia was Hamilton driving for Mercedes.
Ahead of the weekend, Red Bull Racing has revealed the issue that brought both its cars to an early retirement in last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix. The team said there was an issue with the ability of the fuel pumps to get fuel into the engines.
Aston Martin has also confirmed that Sebastian Vettel, who missed the opening round in Bahrain due to Covid, will also miss the Saudi Arabian race as he is still recovering from the illness. Nico Hulkenberg filled in for Vettel in the first round and will do so again this weekend.