A sneak peek at the Saudia Arabian GP Jeddah Corniche Circuit

Saudia Arabian GP
Eric Lafforgue / Getty Images

Five races remain on the 2021 Formula One schedule and two of the final three Grand Prixs will be held in countries hosting the series for the first time with the addition of the Saudi Arabian GP and the Qatar GP.

The penultimate race on the calendar could be one of the most exciting and interesting events of the season as the flat 3.84-mile Jeddah Corniche Circuit is projected to create some of the fastest lap times with the most corners of any 2021 track.

“The circuit in Jeddah will be extraordinary,” said F1 track designer Carsten Tilke at Formula1.com. “It will be a different kind of street track, something the world has never seen before.”

The Jeddah Corniche Circuit is being designed in a part of the city that was mostly empty of buildings, which allows the track designers to create the longest, and they believe fastest, street circuit in Formula One history. In fact, the Jeddah circuit is shorter than only one permanent course with Spa-Francorchamps measuring at 4.35 miles in length.

Since this is a purpose-built track creating its own system of roads, including banked corners, it stretches the definition of a street course, but those concerns will fade away as soon as cars hit the pavement.

The track is positioned on the shores of the Red Sea, so there will not be any significant elevation change that would scrub off momentum. Simulations suggest speeds for the Saudia Arabian GP will be in the range of 157 m.p.h. Australia’s Albert Park is about 10 miles per hour slower.

With so much open space, the temptation existed to create long straightaways, so they did. But Tilke and his engineers did not scrimp on the corners. Jeddah will boast more turns than any other current track with 27. The Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore has 23. This year’s finale will be held at the Yas Marina Circuit one week later in Abu Dhabi, where drivers will have to master 21 turns.

“Why this circuit works so well is that it will have the atmosphere of an urban venue, but the space and run-off so we can increase the speed of the corners,” said Tilke. “This is something you can normally only do at a permanent facility, but here we have been able to create very challenging fast corners that the drivers will love.

“I have driven the lap many times on the simulator and with sections featuring walls close to the edge of the circuit, you really need to concentrate to avoid making a mistake. It will be very rewarding for those who can master all 27 corners.”

The unique topography is not the only factor that allows the designers to take bold moves. The Jeddah Corniche Circuit is essentially a place holder for a permanent course planed for 2023 at Qiddiya, near the capital Riyadh. Jeddah will also host the 2022 Saudia Arabian GP on March 27.

Winner Josef Newgarden earns $3.666 million from a record Indy 500 purse of $17 million


INDIANAPOLIS — The first Indy 500 victory for Josef Newgarden also was the richest in race history from a record 2023 purse of just more than $17 million.

The two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, who continued his celebration Monday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earned $3.666 million for winning the 107th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

The purse and winner’s share both are the largest in the history of the Indianapolis 500.

It’s the second consecutive year that the Indy 500 purse set a record after the 2022 Indy 500 became the first to crack the $16 million mark (nearly doubling the 2021 purse that offered a purse of $8,854,565 after a crowd limited to 135,000 because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

The average payout for IndyCar drivers was $500,600 (exceeding last year’s average of $485,000).

Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske, whose team also fields Newgarden’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet, had made raising purses a priority since buying the track in 2020. But Penske but was unable to post big money purses until the race returned to full capacity grandstands last year.

The largest Indy 500 purse before this year was $14.4 million for the 2008 Indy 500 won by Scott Dixon (whose share was $2,988,065). Ericsson’s haul made him the second Indy 500 winner to top $3 million (2009 winner Helio Castroneves won $3,048,005.

Runner-up Marcus Ericsson won $1.043 million after falling short by 0.0974 seconds in the fourth-closest finish in Indy 500 history.

The 107th Indy 500 drew a crowd of at least 330,000 that was the largest since the sellout for the 100th running in 2016, and the second-largest in more than two decades, according to track officials.

“This is the greatest race in the world, and it was an especially monumental Month of May featuring packed grandstands and intense on-track action,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “Now, we have the best end card possible for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500: a record-breaking purse for the history books.”

Benjamin Pedersen was named the Indy 500 rookie of the year, earning a $50,000 bonus.

The race’s purse is determined through contingency and special awards from IMS and IndyCar. The awards were presented Monday night in the annual Indy 500 Victory Celebration at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

The payouts for the 107th Indy 500:

1. Josef Newgarden, $3,666,000
2. Marcus Ericsson, $1,043,000
3. Santino Ferrucci, $481,800
4. Alex Palou, $801,500
5. Alexander Rossi, $574,000
6. Scott Dixon, $582,000
7. Takuma Sato, $217,300
8. Conor Daly, $512,000
9. Colton Herta, $506,500
10. Rinus VeeKay, $556,500
11. Ryan Hunter‐Reay, $145,500
12. Callum Ilott, $495,500
13. Devlin DeFrancesco, $482,000
14. Scott McLaughlin, $485,000
15. Helio Castroneves, $481,500
16. Tony Kanaan, $105,000
17. Marco Andretti, $102,000
18. Jack Harvey, $472,000
19. Christian Lundgaard, $467,500
20. Ed Carpenter, $102,000
21. Benjamin Pedersen (R), $215,300
22. Graham Rahal, $565,500*
23. Will Power, $488,000
24. Pato O’Ward, $516,500
25. Simon Pagenaud, $465,500
26. Agustín Canapino (R), $156,300
27. Felix Rosenqvist, $278,300
28. Kyle Kirkwood, $465,500
29. David Malukas, $462,000
30. Romain Grosjean, $462,000
31. Sting Ray Robb (R), $463,000
32. RC Enerson (R), $103,000
33.  Katherine Legge, $102,000

*–Broken down between two teams, $460,000 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, $105,500 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports