Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2021

Drivers warned not to create traffic hazard by slowing in final sector

2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers have been told to avoid slowing down around three corners to reduce the risk of collisions with cars on flying laps at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Several drivers raised concerns following near-misses on the first day of practice at the circuit which will hold the first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this weekend.

The final sector of the lap has been a particular concern, as drivers have slowed approaching the last corner in order to ensure they have a traffic-free space to begin a timed run. Following Friday’s running at the track, FIA F1 race director Michael Masi has warned drivers not to slow in the fast, blind corners which proceed the final turn.

“Any driver intending to create a gap in front of him in order to get a clear lap should not attempt to do this around turn 23 through to turn 25,” reads updated guidance issued to drivers ahead of final practice. “Any driver seen to have done this will be reported to the stewards as being in breach of article 27.4 of the Sporting Regulations.”

A minor alteration has also been made to the pit lane exit at the track. The white line limiting where drivers can merge into the track has been extended further towards turn two.

Jeddah Street Circuit, 2021
Jeddah Street Circuit, 2021

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2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “Drivers warned not to create traffic hazard by slowing in final sector”

  1. Currently watching the F2 sprint…. plastic bags circulated at various points on the track and one attached to Ticktums car. Not a great show so far from Saudi

    Dangerous track and poor maintanence it seems

    1. It’s the drivers who choose to drive like that, don’t blame the track.

      See: monza

  2. Told you.

    But the drivers don’t care and will probably blame everyone else when something doesn’t happen.

    If you’re coasting at 50 mph on a 200mph, penalty should be instant black flag cos you couldn’t be driving more dangerous if you tried

    1. Of course it would help if masi actually stuck to the rules, absolutely no one got punished for CONSTANTLY breaking the rules at monza

    2. I agree, should be a black flag now this instruction has been given. Why? Suzuka 2014. Bianchi failed to slow down despite race director instructions, crashed in the same place and along the same line as Sutil (as Brundle commentating predicted and indeed seemed a high possibility/danger at the time). Drivers don’t listen unless the penalty is heavy enough, even when their own lives are in danger. I’m not blaming them, FIA is responsible for ensuring its rules are clear and adhered to. This track seriously worries me and should worry FIA. A minimum delta time needs to be imposed. Even then the risk of a high speed collision into a wall during the race, with little for oncoming drivers to do to avoid any incident, remains high.

      1. A minimum delta time needs to be imposed.

        @david-br They have been doing that for 2-3 years now.

        They are not allowing to go slower than a pre-determined delta time in place between the safety car lines at pit exit & entry. That time usually been set based on data collected during FP1/FP2.

  3. Thing is that drivers slowing down as much as they do isn’t just ‘creating a gap’ there is also the element of trying to get the tires ready because of how temperature sensitive they are & how quickly they overheat.

    Croft & others always goes on about how they could slow to find a gap earlier in the lap rather than all in the last corners but that ignores that driving faster in the final sector will put more heat into the tires for the start of the hot lap which then means the tires will overheat sooner into that lap & they will then run out of grip before the end of it.

    But for me the bigger issue with this track is how fast, narrow & blind many of the most dangerous areas are which isn’t just a problem for cars driving slow on in/out laps but also in the race because if one car has an accident or some other issue & either has to slow suddenly or hits the wall drivers behind aren’t going to have time to react & with no visibility around the walls that is a highly dangerous situation.

    I also worry about some of the DRS zones given how huge the closing rate can be at times.

    1. Something that comes to mind actually is Dario Franchitti’s Indycar crash where on a fast, blind corner the car ahead got a bit sideways & Dario had zero time to react & was launched into the fence in an accident which ended his career.

      Additionally cars behind couldn’t see the accident & had very little time to react once they did which led to one car coming in a driving into the accident with a few others coming very close to doing so.

      1. Not happy to be reminded of that (thanks for the link, but no need to rewatch that) @roger-ayles, though it is a good point well made; it’s really the thing that stands out with the track, why make it purposely dangerous like that (and approve the design by FIA).

  4. So – an amendment to the pit lane exit, just like how an amendment had to made in Korea. Should have put a bet on it…

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