FIA removes ‘cat-and-mouse’ tactic in Jeddah
By Ian Parkes
Thursday 16th March, 2023 - 4:45am
The FIA has reacted to previous complaints about the third and final DRS detection zone at the Jeddah Street Circuit ahead of this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
For the previous two events – the penultimate race of 2021 and the second event of last season – the final zone was controversially located in the braking area on the approach to the final corner.
This resulted in what Red Bull team boss Christian Horner described as “cat-and-mouse games” between drivers who would decline to make an overtake out of the second zone of the subtle ‘turns’ of 25 and 26.
In doing so, they were afforded the opportunity of making the pass out of the third zone along the main straight.
Any driver that risked a pass out of zone two was immediately vulnerable to being retaken in zone three.
This resulted in numerous skirmishes, not least between 2021 title protagonists Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
For the third running of the race, the FIA has now moved the final DRS zone detection point to immediately after the exit of turn 27, with its activation point 170 metres beyond the final corner.
There have also been a number of other changes to a track which prides itself on being the fastest street circuit in the world, where the average speed is akin to Monza which hosts the Italian Grand Prix.
At Turns 14 and 20, renowned for being ‘blind’ at the first two editions of the race, the walls have been realigned to create better sightlines on entry.
Turns 22 and 23 have also received similar treatment, with the former corner now starting 10 metres later and the latter moved by five metres.
In addition, mobile steel plate kerbs have been removed and replaced with permanent concrete bevelled kerbs all around the circuit.
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