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Massa: Riyadh Track Will Be “Big Challenge”; Layout Revealed

Felipe Massa praises the new track that will host the first ever Gen 2 race in December…

Photo: Venturi

Felipe Massa believes the track for the first-ever major international single-seater race in Saudi Arabia will be a “big challenge” for drivers after the layout was released on Tuesday.

The circuit, which is located in the Ad Diriyah area of the Saudi capital Riyadh, is still subject to FIA homologation and approval.

E-racing365 has learned that the first track inspection by the FIA will be undertaken on Thursday with Formula E and Saudi ASN officials in attendance.

Massa demonstrated a Gen 2 Formula E car at the site of the track on Tuesday.

“The circuit will be a big challenge for us the drivers with lots of different elements to it,” he told e-racing365.

“It also has some elevation so should be great for TV and the fans that come too. I can see it being a very good addition to the Formula E schedule in the future.”

The layout (below) features an unusual number of flowing corners rather than the traditional 90-degree turns used often on street circuits.

Streamlined Visa Access for Fans

Formula E CEO and Founder Alejandro Agag emphasized the efforts made to facilitate fans gaining access into the country for the inaugural event.

“His Royal Highness [Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal Al Saud] travelled to Russia to observe some aspects of how things worked so well for the World Cup last summer,” Agag told e-racing365.

“The Saudi authorities are making it very simple for the visa process so for the fans this will be a very accessible event which is very important to us and to the whole Vision2030 program.”

Carlo Butagy, one of the personalities who ensured the deal between Formula E and the Saudi authorities, also believes that the event will provide a spectacle both and off the track.

Butagy, who is acting as promoter for the event, presided over the negotiations between the two parties earlier this year.

“I think we will see a very spectacular event here in December even though it has been a short time in getting the deal done to when we actually go racing,” he said.

“There will of course be the Jaguar [I-PACE eTROPHY] race too so it is a challenge on the infrastructure but we will have a separate paddock for them and there is good space here.”

“There will be a really interesting mix of racing and also some big concerts too, so I believe that it will be an un-missable few days here.”

Butagy conceived and ran the Formula One Fan Village initiative and has been central in ensuring the deal to host the race was confirmed last May.

Image: Formula E

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Yadda

    September 25, 2018 at 11:51 am

    The models that hold umbrellas over the drivers will get the week off. So will the beer vendors.

  2. Azuma

    September 25, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    Will it be a twilight or night race?

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