In view of the second Formula 1 event which takes place at Jeddah Corniche Circuit next weekend, the barriers have been moved back at several turns by up to 1.5 metres in order to improve visibility. Former race director of the DTM series Niels Wittich, who takes on the responsabilities of race director for the Saudi Arabian GP, has also confirmed that the exit of the final corner, Turn 27, has been widened from 10.5 to 12 metres while a smooth surface has been added to some barriers in order to allow drivers greater capacity to brush them without risking to sustain major damage.
New Mercedes driver George Russell previously explained that the circuit was “lacking a lot from a safety perspective and a racing perspective”. However, the recent changes garnered a muted reaction from Scuderia Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc on Thursday.
Carlos Sainz feels the “tiny” changes proved more had to be done to improve the relationship between drivers and the governing body after expecting a greater “step in the right direction”. The Spanish driver explained: “I was commenting with Charles that they just moved the wall, but the driving line will still be close to the wall. It means our visibility doesn’t improve, which for me just shows that we need to keep making this relationship with the FIA tighter, better because we expected a step in the right direction. In my opinion this is not much better. It is marginally a very small tiny bit, smallest ever better.” – he added.
After the changes were completed, Saudi Motorsport Company CEO Martin Whitaker said in Bahrain that the fastest street track could become even quicker beyond its 157mph average speed. Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc agreed with his Maranello teammate and stated that more should be done.
“It’s going in the right direction, but I don’t think it’s enough, especially in the last part of the track from what I’ve seen. But the first part, from Turn 4 to I think Turn 12, it didn’t change much with what was probably the most critical part. I don’t know it will be so significant that we’ll see a completely different situation. From one year to another, it can be just very different. It depends on how many crashes we have. But I don’t see the changes made doing a huge difference to the scenario of last year.” – the Monegasque driver concluded.