Formula 1 Racing

FIA changes layout of Jeddah’s troublesome third DRS detection zone · RaceFans

Jeddah Corniche Circuit track map, 2021

The third and final DRS detection point on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit has been moved for the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

During the first two years that Formula 1 visited the circuit, the detection point for the DRS zone on the pit straight was at the entrance to the final corner.

The location of the DRS zone has at times led to drivers adopting unusual tactics when fighting their rivals for position in an attempt to gain an advantage. As the first car to pass through the detection point risks giving the benefit of DRS to their rival in the following zone, drivers have at times backed off to ensure another car crosses the line first.

An notorious example of this occurred during the inaugural race at the circuit in 2021. Max Verstappen slowed drastically approaching the line after being instructed to hand his position to Lewis Hamilton due to a track limits breach. When the Mercedes driver hesitated to overtake him, not wanting to lose the benefit of DRS, Verstappen braked, causing contact between the pair.

Despite that the third DRS detection point was left in the same position for last year’s race, leading to some drivers adopting similar if less extreme tactics. This year, however, it has been moved to the exit of the final corner.

The activation point for the zone remains in the same place and the circuit’s other two DRS zones are unchanged. The supporting Formula 2 series will use the same three DRS zones.

The FIA has confirmed minor revisions to the track layout have resulted in its official length increasing by one metre, to 6.175 kilometres. Turn 22 has been tightened following several high-speed crashes at the corner, while other alterations have been made to improve visibility and increase the amount of run-off for the drivers.

Jeddah Corniche Circuit track map, 2021
Jeddah Corniche Circuit track map

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