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Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2021

Warm and stable weather conditions are expected for F1’s first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but track conditions may still be tricky.

The penultimate round of the championship will take place this weekend on a new temporary facility, the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, located in the country’s second-largest city. The race takes place overlooking the Red Sea, so coastal breezes will take the edge off the desert temperatures.

Even so the mercury is expected to exceed 30C on all three days of competitive action at the track. What that will mean for track temperatures remains to be seen, but the recently-laid asphalt is likely to soak up heat.

A significant question mark concerns grip levels this weekend. As F1 experienced last year on its visits to the recently re-laid Istanbul Park and Algarve tracks, fresh asphalt takes time to give the desired grip. Initially oils leak from the surface, and only once they’re cleaned up can racing drivers find all the adhesion they crave.

How quickly will the track surface improve this weekend? The warm and dry conditions should help, as will the fact F1 is sharing the venue with Formula 2 and a Porsche support series. That will help clean the surface and lay down rubber. But whether it will yield enough grip for the promised 250kph-plus qualifying laps to be achievable isn’t clear. It may prove treacherous enough to catch out the unwary.

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For more updates on the track conditions during each session keep an eye on RaceFans Live and the RaceFans Twitter account.

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