“Jeddah is probably the biggest unknown we face all year” – Pirelli’s Mario Isola
Formula One is back this weekend for the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the penultimate round of this breathtaking season which takes place at the only recently built Jeddah Street Circuit, giving Pirelli plenty to think about.
Many believed the circuit wouldn’t be ready in time to host this weekend, amazingly though with just days until the event kicks off, the track is ready and it looks stunning. Saudi Arabia is the thirty-fourth country to host a Formula One Grand Prix, for which Pirelli have decided to bring their middle range of tyres, the C2, C3 and C4 compounds.
This weekend is a complete step into the unknown similar to the Qatar Grand Prix last time out, except with the massive difference being that many forms of racing had taken place at the Losail International Circuit before. With Jeddah the only data that has been gathered is from the simulator, making this weekend one not to miss.
It’s based off the data gathered from the sims that Pirelli have opted for their middle range, which they believe will suit well to the fast and flowing street circuit. The circuit which has been designed by the well-known Hermann Tilke, is the longest street circuit on the calendar at just over 6.1km, with it being the second longest circuit in general, behind Spa.
Not only this but the circuit which sits right alongside the coast, is set to be the second fastest on the calendar behind Monza, with average speeds of over 250kph being predicted. The circuit does take the record now though of having the most turns on the calendar, drivers will have to get up to speed on Friday and learn all twenty-seven corners, one of which is banked at twelve-degrees.
It will also be another night race and an all-round incredible spectacle, where depending on results, Max Verstappen could be crowned champion! Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing at Pirelli, believes that this weekend is the biggest unknown they have faced all year.
“Jeddah is probably the biggest unknown we face all year, as with the track being completed very close to the race. As a result, we can only rely on simulations from F1 and the teams, along with other information we’ve collected, to come up with our nomination.
“This street circuit looks set to be quite different to anything else, and the high speeds with fast corners will obviously play a big part in the way that the tyres behave. Jeddah has more corners than any other track on the calendar, and one of them – Turn 13 – also has 12-degree banking, so there are plenty of different elements that will keep the tyres working hard.”