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Saudi Arabia making changes to Jeddah track for 2022 race

The Jeddah Corniche Circuit will go through some track changes ahead of this year's F1 race.

The newly-built Jeddah Corniche Circuit will go through additional construction work to tweak the layout ahead of the 2022 race. Having hosted its first race in November, Formula 1 returns to Saudi Arabia for the second race of the '22 season on 27 March. But, having been constructed at breakneck speed, circuit authorities have taken onboard the lessons learned from the inaugural race in order to carry out some changes before F1 returns. "The length of time between the two races has enabled us to reflect on some aspects that did and didn't work," said Martin Whitaker, CEO of the Saudi Motorsport Company overseeing the operation of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. "We have been striving to improve on some areas for our second event. "Firstly, there are going to be one or two slight changes to the track. These tweaks are directly related to drivers' sightline 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." It's not only driver comfort that's on the agenda, with Whitaker explaining that some of the grandstands are also going to have their positions shifted in order to improve spectator views. "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," he commented. "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 Fanzones, which proved to be extremely popular."

Plenty of lessons learned from the first race

Whitaker explained that there are also some logistical changes being made for the second race, although the restrictive geography of where the track is constructed prevents them from conducting large-scale improvements. "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," he said. "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." Whitaker added that there won't be any fundamental changes made to the layout of the track itself, revealing that the feedback from the drivers about the circuit layout was overwhelmingly positive. "There's no doubt about it, the drivers loved the track," he made clear. "From the moment they left the pits on Friday afternoon, it was clear they relished the challenge of this venue. I think Valtteri Bottas summed it up best when he described it as 'hardcore', adding that the high-speed nature of the circuit gave him an adrenaline rush! "There are a lot of street courses that have tight and slow 90-degree bends, but the fast speeds of Jeddah and flowing corners enabled the drivers to really attack the circuit. "In the race, there was also plenty of overtaking and drama with just the one particular corner catching a couple of the drivers out."

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