Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are all set to battle it out at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix next weekend, with eight points now separating the two title protagonists. Ahead of the weekend, track designer Carsten Tilke provided a rundown of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
In an interview with talkSport, Carsten Tilke, designer of the brand new F1 circuit in Jeddah, spoke about the track and its construction. When asked about whether it would favor Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton, he said:
"It could go either way. On the one hand, it’s very fast, so the engine is important, but on the other hand, it’s a lot of corners. This is also important, so to be honest I’m not sure, we will see."
“Verstappen is in front and we have a street circuit where you can touch the walls easily, and if something happens, Verstappen will be there, it’s really, really close and can go both ways."
The last thing either driver wants is a crash that wipes out their chances of winning the title. In Hamilton's case, the stakes are a bit higher because if he doesn't finish the race, the Dutchman can clinch the title by finishing second.
Carsten is the son of F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke, who has worked extensively with the FIA over the years, modifying circuits such as the Hockemheimring, Circuit de Catalunya, and even the Nurburgring. Following in his father's footsteps, Carsten has designed and developed the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, where the championship battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton will be fought next week.
Max Verstappen can potentially win title at Jeddah Corniche Circuit
The Jeddah Corniche Circuit is the second-longest circuit on the current calendar, with a total length of 6.174km. Termed the "fastest street track" in F1, the average speeds expected around the track are pegged to be in excess of 250kmph.
The circuit features 27 turns, most of which are not at right-angles, unlike many other street circuits. Some believe Max Verstappen and Red Bull have always had the upper hand when it comes to fast-flowing corners, however, Lewis Hamilton has shown serious form since his engine upgrade at the Brazilian Grand Prix earlier this month.
Max Verstappen could potentially clinch his first-ever world title if he manages to create a gap of 26 points heading into the final race in Abu Dhabi. However, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes will try their best to make it as difficult as possible for the young Dutchman to bag his first title.
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Practice begins on December 3, and teams will be trying their hardest to collect as much data as quickly as possible at the new venue. Whoever figures out the optimal setup for the new venue first is likely to possess a distinct advantage.