The eyes of the motorsport world will once again be on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit this weekend, but it’s not just Nicholas Latifi and Alex Albon who will be getting to grips with this high-speed venue.
Our Driver Academy will be represented by Logan Sargeant and Roy Nissany, as Formula 2 returns to Saudi Arabia.
We sat down with Logan ahead of the weekend and tasked the young American with explaining what a lap of the world’s fastest street circuit is actually like.
However, after a winter spent largely at our Oxfordshire headquarters, the Florida native started by expressing just how pleased he was with the home comforts Saudi Arabia’s climate provides.
“The sun’s out and it’s a little humid, it’s much more similar to Florida so I’m definitely happy to be here,” he said.
It was at this venue four months ago that Logan gained his first taste of an F2 car – and although that may give him a slight advantage over some other members of the field, he warned that you still need time to get back into the swing of it.
“It’s definitely a tricky, challenging and twisty circuit. You really need to find a good flow, a good rhythm here,” the 21-year-old revealed.
“That’s my aim going into practice, I have to get into a good rhythm in the car before taking it a step further in qualifying.”
A view down the pit straight towards the tight left-hand first turn
With 27 corners, the Jeddah Corniche Circuit leads the way in terms of most turns at any venue on both the F2 and F1 calendar, while its 6.174km length puts it second only to Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps.
That is why this exhilarating track requires a few laps to get in the right zone, before pushing to find extra time, as Logan explained:
“A key factor for lap time here is simply just finding the rhythm and finding a flow – if you can set up a nice first sector, it will put you in good stead for the rest on the lap.
“I think there’s a lot of time sitting in that sector and it’s an area that I plan on getting on top of as soon as possible.”
As with any street circuit, there are walls waiting to punish the smallest of mistakes at any moment – and with a top-speed during the 2021 F2 weekend of 315.1km/h, there is very little margin for error.
“The biggest challenge is just getting comfortable with being extremely close to the walls on both entry and exit,” he continued.
“This will help open up the track as much as possible, as well as assist attacking the apexs.”
Historically, venues like the Jeddah Corniche Circuit are limiting for overtakes, but Logan feels that there are a couple of good opportunities where you can make a move during the lap.
“The first one is into the first corner, it follows a long DRS zone which leads into a tight chicane,” he said.
“That is certainly going to be the main hotspot for passes, but don’t rule out making a move into the last corner – It can be a bit trickier there but it’s certainly possible.”
In the city known as “The Bride of the Red Sea”, we will be keeping a keen eye on both Logan and Roy – as well as Nicky and Alex – to see if they can marry together the skill and bravery needed to find time on this circuit.
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