This weekend (Friday 17th March) the Formula 1 2023 season enters Round 2 at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit for the third Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. With an average lap speed of roughly 250km/h, this street circuit absolutely lives up to its name as the world’s fastest street circuit.
After Williams Racing opened the Formula 1 season with rookie driver Logan Sargeant alongside Alexander Albon, the team scored a point thanks to Albon coming home tenth in the FW45. As the team enters round 2 of this season’s calendar, Williams is currently seventh in the Constructors Championship.
Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams, Dave Robson believes that despite the track undergoing significant revisions since last year, Jeddah will still pose as a challenge for the team.
“We return to Jeddah for the second race of the of 2023 season. Whilst the circuit has undergone some substantial revisions since last year, it retains its fundamental character and offers a very different challenge to the track in Bahrain.”
Last week in Bahrain, which also happened to be Sargeant’s debut with Williams, was an interesting and constructive weekend for the team. With Albon scoring points and Sargeant narrowly missing out by two grid places, Robson is hopeful the team can adapt the car to the Jeddah circuit.
“We enjoyed a productive couple of weeks in Bahrain and were able to take a lot of positives from the race weekend. We now face the challenge of quickly adapting the car to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, which is much more sensitive to drag than Bahrain. There are a couple of tricky corners on the circuit, which seriously test the car and drivers. With each lap being in excess of 6km, there are few opportunities to practice these corners before the Qualifying session.”
The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is one of the four-night races on the calendar this year, the opening race Bahrain, Singapore and the season finale in Abu Dhabi make up the four. Whilst night races make for a more visually exciting event for spectators, Robson highlighted the team needs to consider track temperature changes ahead of the main event on Sunday.
“Like the last event, the key sessions take place in the evening and we will need to be mindful of the changes to wind and temperature following the sunset. The track surface is much smoother than in Bahrain and Pirelli have provided softer tyre compounds for this event. We are looking forward to tackling this charismatic street circuit and improving our understanding of FW45.”