Although the Saudi Arabian GP was thrilling, under the microscope, the track was flawed. While the circuit was finished in a hurry and the thumbs up from the FIA was delayed, some drivers weren’t particularly happy with it. Everyone agreed it was a fun circuit to drive on, with the high-speed corners creating an unprecedented challenge. However, Max Verstappen had foretold the dangers of the track and believes it had some pretty strong comments on the issue.
Ahead of the tumultuous weekend at Jeddah, Max Verstappen had prophesied
its dangers. “I expect a bit of trouble. There could be some big shunts.”
The first ever F1 race weekend in Saudi Arabia was unforgettable 👌
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 6, 2021
Further, the Dutchman questioned the reliability of the circuit as he alludes to the price paid. “I wonder who signs off these kinds of tracks. I mean, great idea, I guess they have $90million reasons why.” A large number quoted by the Dutchman– he believed that money had the upper hand at Jeddah.
Verstappen made this statement ahead of FP2. where Charles Leclerc set the tone for the weekend by spinning off into Turn 22. Team principals and drivers alike have been unhappy with the circuit to some extent. Did F1 make a mistake by signing with Jeddah in a hurry?
The multiple times’ Max Verstappen was proved right in Jeddah
The incident with Charles Leclerc was only the beginning in Jeddah. During the race, the close wheel-to-wheel racing was staccato with racing incidents. First, it was Mick Schumacher who spun off on the same exit as Leclerc.
The Haas rookie commented on the track. “Because the track is so narrow, it’s like a traffic jam and going full speed inside it.” Although Mick’s incident brought out the yellow flags for a long time, the barriers were heavily damaged, bringing out the first red flag of the evening.
Then came the multi-car incident at the restart. Leclerc tagged Sergio Perez, while Nikita Mazepin rammed into the rear of George Russell‘s Williams. Once again, the narrow circuit with its limited run-off area proved to be the common culprit.
Russell deemed the incident inescapable. “It’s a shame, but with such a narrow track that is so fast, and with the size of these cars, an accident is almost inevitable.”
However, it wasn’t over yet, as a number of smaller incidents followed. Sebastian Vettelwas a part of two incidents, as Yuki Tsunoda spun the former champion off the track on lap 24; with almost no time for recovery, Vettel later made contact with Kimi Raikkonen. Both incidents brought out the VSC as there was debris scattered across the track.
Formula 1 race director, Michael Masi, agrees the circuit requires some changes as well. “There is some fine-tuning that will happen across the board, there are some teething issues being a brand new event, a brand new facility. There’ll be some fine-tuning but nothing in a major way that I can envisage here and now.”
This brings up whether the FIA should clear out such details months before the main event. With 2022 bringing in Miami as a new track, hopefully, the racing will be safer.