Dave Robson, Nicholas Latifi and Alex Albon look ahead to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
After a thrilling season-opener to the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship, the team travels onwards for the second race of the year: the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The temporary Jeddah Corniche Circuit weaves and sweeps its way along the coastal resort’s waterfront, illuminated by the city’s lighting. The FW44 will tackle the 6.174km track under the setting sun, as Formula One’s fastest street circuit poses new challenges for both driver and car to contend with.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: The second race of the year is an opportunity to see the 2022 cars at a very different type of track. The nature of the corners and the long straights in Jeddah will introduce some new challenges for the FW44 and whilst we have done a lot of preparation, it is likely that we will encounter something unexpected. This is simply the nature of taking a whole new car to such diverse tracks early in the season. We are looking forward to the challenge and to seeing how the new generation of cars tackle this high-speed street circuit.
This is Alex’s first trip to Jeddah and so he will need some time to understand the track and to gain confidence in the car and tyres. Pirelli have brought tyres from the middle of their compound range and adapting the car setup to suit the tyre behaviour will be one of our major tasks on Friday, alongside managing any porpoising that may be induced by the high car speeds. There will be a lot to get through on Friday and we are keen to get the cars back on track and get that work started.
Nicholas Latifi: I’m looking forward to heading to Saudi Arabia for the second race of the year. The track was a new addition to the calendar in 2021, but was definitely one of the most fun and exciting races. I also really enjoyed the combination of it being a night street race; that added to the atmosphere and was an interesting new challenge. Both myself and the team are heading to Saudi looking to building on the learnings that we took from Bahrain. We’re not starting the season exactly where we want to be, but there are some positives and we’ll continue to push to make sure things improve.
Alex Albon: The Jeddah Corniche Circuit is a new track for me and not an easy one to get up to speed with, so whilst I’m looking forward to that challenge, I know it’s going to be a tough one. I think it’ll be a track that is a bit better suited to the characteristics of the FW44; it’s smoother with more medium and high-speed corners, so I’m hoping we go well there. The more running we do, the more we’ll understand this car and how we can work to maximise its performance, so I’m mostly just looking forward to getting back out on track.