Tilke to design Saudi Arabia street circuit

Jamie Woodhouse
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Rio de Janeiro give up on Brazilian Grand Prix.

Formula 1’s long-term track designer Hermann Tilke has been called into action by the Saudi Arabia GP to design their 2021 circuit.

Formula 1 will make its debut in Saudi Arabia next season with a race to take place around the streets of Jeddah. After that, the plan is for the event to move to a purpose-built circuit.

The 2021 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix will serve as the penultimate round of the season, and Tilke has been called upon to design the street circuit that it will be contested around.

Tilke has been responsible for designing several iconic tracks in Formula 1 such as Istanbul Park, Baku, Yas Marina and the Red Bull Ring.

The architect has also been responsible for several less popular venues like the Valencia Street Circuit and Buddh International Circuit.

Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Faisal, president of Saudi Arabia’s motorsport federation, did tell RaceFans.net though that Tilke had been brought in to design the street circuit partly due to time constraints.

“Given the time that we have, we found out that the best option for us is to go directly with Tilke,” he said.

“We need to work very fast and it’s a street circuit, it’s not like a new project starting from scratch, so we wanted to bring someone in that has experience both in the street and circuit races.

“We’re working closely with Formula 1, with Ross Brawn and his team and Tilke.

“We don’t want it to be just another race, we wanted to do something special, we want it to be a different race, we want it to be the best race. So working closely with Formula 1 and Tilke and having our beautiful corniche in Jeddah I can promise you it’s going to stand out.”

The street race will host Formula 1 in the final year of the current regulations and as such, attempts are being made with the design to ensure that overtaking chances and excitement are aplenty.

“Our goal is to make it an exciting and thrilling race. We don’t want it to be one of those boring races where there is no overtaking. We host Formula 1 because we want to bring the excitement,” Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Faisal continued.

“We are doing our best to make it exciting. It’s not only about the scenery or the environment or the sporting events that we are planning to do. For us, racing needs to be exciting, needs to be fast.

“At the same time it’s a street race so you’re not building a track from scratch, we are limited to the things that we can do. But if you see the corniche in Jeddah you’re going to have an idea [of the layout].

“I can tell you it’s not going to be a slow race. Our goal is to make it exciting, thrilling with a lot of overtaking. We like seeing the event in Monaco, it’s a lovely event, but in terms of racing, there’s no overtaking, it’s not that exciting.

“So for us, we want to create a street race where it looks nice, the event, the environment is nice, but at the same time it’s a thrilling race. So this is a task that we are working closely with Tilke and Formula 1, and hopefully we will achieve this goal.”

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