First look at brand new Jeddah Street Circuit that will host Saudi Arabian GP

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The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is a month away, but the venue at which it is scheduled to take place remains very much a work in progress. Construction on a new state-of-the-art street circuit in the capital city Jeddah is taking place around the clock, to make sure it is ready for when the lights go out on December 5.

There is always a keen sense of intrigue whenever a new track is added to the calendar, but even more so when it comes to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Even if a circuit has not been used as a venue for a Formula 1 Grand Prix before, chances are it has featured in other motorsport divisions.

For example, before the teams head to Saudi Arabia they will race in Qatar for the first time ever – the Losail International Circuit will be new to F1 fans, but MotoGP and other motorsports have been heading there regularly for years.

The story is completely different for this venue in Jeddah, as the track layout will be completely new for everyone.

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It is more than six kilometres long and, with 27 corners – the most of any track on the F1 calendar – and a banked turn 13, race director Michael Masi says it will present an interesting technical test for the drivers.

“It will just be a super-fast circuit, with the highest number of corners that we’ve got in any round of the championship. It’s going to be quite a challenge,” he said.

A new video released by Formula 1 shows the track is still something of a shell – the shape of the track is clear to see and the skeletons of all the stands, paddock and other key buildings are in place, but there is still a lot more construction work to be done.

The race will take place at night, similar to how we have seen with Singapore in the past and this season’s final outing in Abu Dhabi.

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But, according to F1, the 627 lamp posts around the circuit and additional lighting on bridges and buildings mean “drivers will feel a little bit like they are driving in the day”.

“Fast” and “flowing” are the key words that officials continue to regularly use when describing the circuit, who are keen to emphasise that there will still be plenty of room for speed despite the large number of turns.

There are three DRS zones too, which will help to make sure there is scope for overtaking.

F1’s chief technical officer Pat Symonds said he is “very proud” of what has been created in Saudi Arabia.

“It’s not going to look like a street circuit and yet it is,” he said. “It’s really good to be involved in.

“I think there’s a mixture of things that will make it a good race, because when you see a Formula 1 car that is really exercised, you see it at the limit – that’s an exciting thing to see. Seeing it on a street circuit is quite unusual.”

Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, added: “We need to add something new – we need to add a new experience for the viewers and for the drivers.

“Anyone who will come to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah will feel something different and find something new.”

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