Mar.23 – Haas F1 Team is ready to resume competition at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Round 2 of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
Saudi Arabia joined Formula 1’s schedule in 2021 as the penultimate round, in December, and courtesy of a partially rearranged calendar for 2022 its second event is being held less than four months on.
Once more the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will be held at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, a high-speed wall-lined track that features a season-most 27 turns. The track stretches and snakes its way along the coast of the Red Sea, with the banked turn 13 and hairpin turn 27 bookending the outer reaches of the 6.1km circuit.
An average lap speed of 253.984 km/h was required for pole position, making it the second-fastest circuit on the calendar, slower only than Italy’s Autodromo Nazionale Monza. For Jeddah’s 2022 return minor revisions have taken place to the track on safety grounds, most notably to improve apex sight lines for drivers, while turn 27 has been widened by 1.5 meters.
Last year’s inaugural race featured multiple stoppages and interruptions, though unfortunately for Haas F1 Team it was involved in the chaos, with Mick Schumacher among the retirements. For Kevin Magnussen it will be his first taste of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit but he has no shortage of experience of city-based events.
Haas F1 Team heads to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in third position in the Constructors’ Championship with 10 points.
Guenther Steiner – Team Principal of Haas F1 Team Q&A
Race one of 23 completed – what are your key takeaways and how fair an assessment of the grid has been made following the Bahrain Grand Prix? How do you rate both driver performances over the weekend?
“I think we saw the speed of the cars and they will be similar until the upgrades kick in, but we still have to wait for a few more races, including street circuits, to know where everybody is at – Red Bull didn’t finish the last race but they will in future. Our drivers, from where we came to where we ended up was pretty good. Mick struggled a little bit more last weekend – in qualifying with his fastest lap having a little mistake and then in the race he got compromised by Ocon, who ran into the back of him, and he spun. That’s never good because you then have to clean up your tires again and you just fall back, but he will make this up in the next races.”
After only three months, Formula 1 is back in Jeddah for Round 2 of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship – the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. What were your first impressions of the event and such a short turnaround between the two races?
“I really look forward to going back to Jeddah. It was a very interesting race track which was very different to anything else. The organizers did a very good job last year to get the track ready at the last minute and for sure they’ve made improvements to the little things that were not perfect the first time around. I’m really looking forward to getting back there.”
Saudi was a challenging race for the team last year. With changes being made to the track to aid driver sightlines, do you think opinions of the fast and flowing Jeddah Corniche Circuit will change?
“I think every race was a challenge for us last year but with Nikita running into Russell, it was a bit more than it was normally. I still need to see the changes but they know what they need to do in these high-speed sectors so you can see forwards a little bit more to help to avoid situations. I don’t think it will compromise how good the race track actually is.”
We’re moving from testing and racing at permanent circuits such as Barcelona and Bahrain to a temporary street circuit in Saudi Arabia. Is the VF-22 showing signs that it’s a car that will be able to compete at a variety of circuits – in particular what are the strengths you’ve seen exhibited by the package at this early stage of the season?
“I think the car should be competitive everywhere, in some places more and some places less, but it’s the same for everybody. In general, I think this is good for the championship.”
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