McLaren log plenty of simulator time ahead of Saudi Arabian GP

McLaren log plenty of simulator time ahead of Saudi Arabian GP

Heading to another new track for the second race in a row, McLaren have hit the simulator ahead of the inaugural Saudi Arabian GP.

This weekend sees Formula 1 return to the desert for the Saudi Arabian GP. Sunday’s race will be the first time F1 has competed in Saudi Arabia. But while the higher-ups have faced some criticism for placing Saudi on the calendar, the Jeddah Corniche Circuit should still provide some great on track action.

Pegged as one of the fastest tracks for 2021, drivers can expect to reach speeds of around 320km/h, the fastest for any street circuit around the world. With an average track speed of 250km/h placing it just behind Monza.

The Jeddah Corniche Circuit also has the most corners of any track that F1 has visited for 2021, with a total of 27. While there are plenty of high-speed sections, including three DRS zones, hairpins at either end of the track, including the banked one at Turn 13, will provide a different aspect.

With no historical racing data to assist teams with potential setups, the simulator has come into play to help determine how cars may react around the circuit. Since the Qatar GP a fortnight ago, McLaren have been working hard in the sim to gather as much data as possible ahead of the Saudi Arabian GP.

“The track in Jeddah is going to be fun, it’s a really fast and flowing track with close walls, which will create a unique challenge,” Lando Norris said. “I’ve been driving the circuit in the simulator to get up to speed with the layout, which is really important when arriving at a new venue.

“Qualifying in these cars at this circuit is going to be a very cool experience, and will set us up for a strong race on Sunday. We’re going to be giving it our all right up until the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi, to finish in the best possible position in both championships.”

Coming off a disappointing triple-header, the fight in the Constructors Championship is all but over, with Ferrari taking a sizeable lead over McLaren in the race for ‘best of the rest’. Through a combination of bad luck and poor performance from both drivers, McLaren managed to walk away from three races with a lonely four points.

But while the fight for third place is all but done and dusted, unless some unforeseen miracle occurs, the Woking-based team are looking to finish their season on a high. With two races remaining in the 2021 F1 season, they have already surpassed last year’s total point’s haul of 202, currently sitting on 258 points.

“We head back to the desert for the final two races of the 2021 season, and our first stop is another new venue at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit,” McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl said. “With two new venues in succession, the team back at the factory has been working hard to prepare, and we’ve used the window between Qatar and Saudi to give the drivers time in the simulator in preparation for heading out on track this Friday.

“Although the last triple-header didn’t go our way, we’re still committed to applying everything we’ve learned during the last race weekends and fighting for the best possible finishes we can achieve between now and the last lap in Abu Dhabi. This season has been an intense and exciting battle, but it’s not over yet and we want to finish it on a high.”