Damon Hill has voiced his personal concerns about the high-speed nature of Formula One’s newest addition to the championship calendar. Saudi Arabia will be the host of this weekend’s Grand Prix and the Jeddah Corniche circuit is being billed as the “fastest street circuit in the world”. A bold claim indeed, but street circuits are lined with concrete retaining walls and fencing. Most street circuits have an average low speed, Monaco averages about 100mph, relatively slow for a modern F1 car.
The Jeddah Corniche track is almost like Silverstone with walls. And this is a concern for Hill, the 1996 F1 World champion. He gave his musings about the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on the latest edition of the F1Nation Podcast.
“I’m a bit worried about the speed. I mean, there’s not much run-off. They’ve got the SAFER barrier that they’re using, which is like they do in Indianapolis, but it’s gonna be very high speed and not much run-off.”
“Some of the sweeps look quite long, so I’m racking my brains – I think it could be a cross between something like Singapore and Baku.”
Lewis Hamilton will arrive at the Jeddah Corniche circuit with an 8-point deficit to championship leader, Max Verstappen. However, the Mercedes driver will be armed with the power unit that helped him so convincingly to win the Brazilian Grand Prix and was strategically ‘rested’ at the last race in Qatar.
Mercedes seems to have outwitted Red Bull in how to manage their engine allocation over the course of the season. And this has been a bone of contention, one of many issues for Red Bull who want to win the championship off the track as much as they do on it. But anything can happen in F1, nothing is written.