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Saudi Arabian GP Preview

Formula One’s next destination is Jeddah, Saudi Arabia,

The first race of the new season ended in triumphant victories for Max Verstappen and his Red Bull brand and the Dutchman is further cementing his status as the new face of F1. Fernando Alonso returned to the podium after a two-year absence, whilst Ferrari and Mercedes continued to be plagued by issues both on and off the track.

It is not, however, doom and gloom for rival teams, as the Jeddah track is custom-built for competitive races and surprise packages. Red Bull are tipped to achieve victory once-again, though their success in Saudi is by no means a guarantee.


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Things To Look Out For

Will Red Bull Continue Their Romp Towards Glory?

One of the biggest storylines going into the Saudi GP is whether or not Red Bull will tighten their stranglehold on Formula One. The brand eased to victory in Bahrain in the season’s opening race, and several fans are beginning to wonder if they’re in store for another era of one-team dominance. 

There were high hopes among rival fans that the Bahrain GP would offer some semblance of competition, but Verstappen’s comfortable victory and Sergio Perez’s second-place finish quickly killed-off those hopes. 

The last generation of F1 saw a Mercedes homogeneity, and it’s looking increasingly more likely that this one will see Red Bull take the reins. Whether the other teams can lay a glove on them in Saudi Arabia remains to be seen. 

Max Verstappen himself stated that he expects more competition in Jeddah and that he’s not taking his status at the top for granted. 

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More Bad News For Ferrari?

Ferrari seems to be in the news constantly, though not for the reasons they and their fans would like. 

The epitome of the team’s rotten-luck was showcased at the Bahrain Grand Prix, where Charles Leclerc was forced to retire from the track due to technical difficulty. 

If that wasn’t bad enough, the malfunction means that Leclerc could face a grid penalty at the Saudi Grand Prix. Though the setback is disheartening, Ferrari remain adamant that the 2023 season will be a big improvement over the last one. 

Mercedes were also left scratching their heads after Bahrain, and Lewis Hamilton will seek to put his miserable 2022 behind him. 



Will The Track Change Proceedings?

The Jeddah track is often dubbed the world’s fastest street track, and its unique nature could change proceedings. In fact, Max Verstappen has gone on record claiming that the track’s high amount of straights and fast corners could aid other brands’ cars - particularly Ferrari. 

Last year’s Jeddah Grand Prix was one of the most memorable races of the season, and hopes are high that this year’s edition will follow suit. 

Following driver complaints made last year, the Jeddah track has been modified ahead of this year’s event, with rumble lines being added to the last two corners to warn drivers of track limits and corner walls being removed to increase visibility. 

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Should We Pay More Attention To Williams?

Jeddah will provide an eye-opening challenge for F1s new kids on the block. Logan Sargeant impressed in Bahrain as the lead rookie, and the Williams driver is beginning to make a name for himself as a bright prospect. 

The 22-year-old is still a raw talent, but the foundations of a top driver are certainly there. Jeddah’s straight-line speed could play into their hands well, though it’s more likely that Williams will be battling in the competitive midfield for at least the near future. Optimism around Williams is justified, but it’ll most likely take a few years before they advance any further than that. 

Nyck de Vries and Oscar Piastri, representing AlphaTauri and McLaren respectively, are among the younger drivers who hope to build upon their promising careers. 

The Saudi Arabia Grand Prix will take place in Jeddah on Sunday 19 March and it’ll start at 3:30pm UK time, with the Main Event starting at 5pm.

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