Patrick Friesacher gave F1 fans a glimpse of what they can expect at this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix when he powered the title-winning RB8 car along the Jeddah Waterfront in front of thousands of onlookers for Red Bull Racing’s latest Showrun. Here is all you need to know:
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The 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship is going down to the wire in both the driver and constructor races with Red Bull Racing Honda in the mix for both trophies against Mercedes with two races left.
Championship leader Max Verstappen and Mexican teammate Sergio Pérez will duel it out under the lights with the Mercedes pair at the brand-new Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Sunday for the inaugural race.
Ahead of that on November 12, Saudi speed and motorsports enthusiasts got the chance to experience a taste of the electrifying energy and atmosphere that accompanies the pinnacle of motorsport.
Austrian Friesacher piloted the famous RB8 car – which won the F1 Constructor and Drivers’ World Championship for Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel respectively in 2012 – along the Jeddah Waterfront for just over 800 metres before entertaining the crowd with a series of ‘doughnuts’.
The roar of the RB8’s classic 750 horsepower, V8 engine announced the start of this one-of-a-kind show that perfectly paves the way for the Kingdom to host its first ever Formula 1 race weekend.
Saudi motorcycle champion Shadi Al Dhaheri and Danish motorcyclist Mike Jensen also got to showcase their incredible acrobatic skills on their motorcycles in an exceptional performance.
Friesacher, 41, declared: “It was really super cool. I really loved it with this championship-winning car from 2012, to bring it here to Jeddah and bring it a little bit closer to the fans.”
Looking ahead to the race weekend, the newest circuit in the sport will see drivers reach average speeds of 250km/h, making it the fastest street in the world – and in the top five fastest F1 circuits altogether – as well as the second-longest circuit behind the legendary Spa-Francorchamps.
Featuring no less than 27 corners, the Jeddah Corniche Circuit stretches to 6.175km in length with the drivers projected to reach top speeds of up to 322km/h as they race towards Turn 27.
Additionally, three consecutive sections of the circuit have been marked out as potential DRS Zones, which should lift the crowds due to plenty of overtaking opportunities for the drivers.
Designed by popular F1 circuit architect Herman Tilke, there are only a few run-off areas available like the Baku street circuit which could punish drivers if they stray offline into the walls – providing added tension.