Alpine’s Fernando Alonso is anticipating a “very fast” Jeddah Street Circuit as Formula One heads to Saudi Arabia for the inaugural 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Alonso comes into this race weekend off the back of his first F1 podium in seven-and-a-half years in Qatar but he is wary of what fans can expect, as he said: “It’ll be a new experience for everyone up and down the grid. From what I’ve seen and analysed with the team, it’ll be a very fast circuit.”
As part of his preparations, Alonso has “thoroughly” analysed every detail of the circuit in Alpine’s simulator, but believes that the experience of visiting new circuits already this season has helped him understand what to look out for across the weekend.
Saudi Arabian GP will be held at night which offers an additional boost to Alonso who have twice won F1 races at night before, having won 2008 and 2010 Singapore Grands Prix, with the Spaniard believing that the darkness will add “a special feel” to the race.
Esteban Ocon meanwhile is anticipating an “interesting” race which he hopes provides “an exciting experience” in learning a new track, as he seeks another competitive weekend and praised Alpine for their work on the simulator in understanding the circuit.
“The guys have worked hard in running simulations and understanding everything as best as possible, and we had a good day on the simulator to get dialled in to the circuit so we don’t have any surprises when we get there this week.” said Ocon as he spoke about the simulator preparations.
Alpine Sporting Director, Alan Permane added that he expects both Alonso and Ocon to “be familiar with the track layout having run in our driver-in-the-loop simulator.”
Permane also admitted that the contrast in temperatures of FP1 and FP3 to those of FP2, Qualifying and the race will provide an additional test due to the latter sessions held in cooler evening conditions, although he is hopeful that their “strong” form in Qatar can be replicated here in similar conditions.