Mark Webber casts ‘cracking’ verdict on new Saudi Arabian Grand Prix track

Jamie Woodhouse
Mark Webber arrives in the F1 paddock at the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix.

Mark Webber arrives in the F1 paddock.

Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber is happy that the proposed new venue for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix has had Formula 1 driver input, highlighting the varying track width as “a really cracking idea”.

Since Formula 1’s first visit to Saudi Arabia in 2021, the event has been contested around a street track constructed in the city of Jeddah, though there are plans to move away from the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in the future.

Mark Webber impressed by proposed Qiddiya track

Ahead of the 2024 staging of the Saudi Arabian GP, renders emerged for a new circuit set to be created as part of Saudi Arabia’s Qiddiya project, featuring standout features such a Turn 1, otherwise known as ‘The Blade’, which will peak at 108 metres in the air.

Webber, as part of a video on his X account, was asked for his take on the circuit, as well as his thoughts on Saudi Arabia’s appetite for motorsport as a whole.

And it was a different track feature which stood out for the Aussie, that being apparent changes in width across its course, which he says is unique for new circuits and a “cracking” idea for making on-track battles more intriguing.

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Alex Wurz, president of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, has been directly involved in the design.

“The energy now around this event, but also going forward to Qiddiya, when I saw the layout, I was first of all so happy having racing drivers involved in designing the circuit,” said Webber.

“The bravery in terms of the topography, the banking, the width of the track, you know, this sort of variation of width, instead of having just the prescribed width which we see a lot in those recently-designed circuits, but not this one.

“They’ve gone [with] a lot of different widths, so that’s going to make it very tricky for the drivers in terms of tactics and lines and defending and overtaking, which I think is a really cracking idea.”

As for the here and now, it was current Red Bull driver, three-time World Champion Max Verstappen, who claimed victory in the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The dominant Dutchman has started the season with a pair of victories, both one-two finishes for Red Bull, marking the ideal start to his pursuit of a fourth successive World Championship.

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