F1 will race at Jeddah Corniche Circuit for the first time this weekend! The circuit is expected to be the fastest street track F1 has ever raced on, and with that in mind, we take a look at where F1’s fastest speeds and fastest laps have been achieved!
Seriously, some of these speeds are insane.
THE FASTEST EVER F1 CIRCUIT
There’s a reason why Monza’s nickname is the ‘Cathedral of Speed’. If you were to list every qualifying lap ever recorded in average speed order from fastest to slowest, all of the 35 fastest laps have been recorded at Monza. In fact, of the top 100, only nine were not recorded at the Italian Grand Prix.
The fastest ever qualifying lap in Formula 1 was recorded by Lewis Hamilton at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix, where he completed the pole lap at an average speed of 264.363km/h. The fastest ever race also took place at Monza, with Michael Schumacher winning the 2003 Italian Grand Prix at an average speed of 247.586km/h.
THE FASTEST EVER TOP SPEED
F1’s simulations suggest that the top speed at Jeddah Corniche Circuit will be 322km/h. While still mind-blowingly fast, it’s 50km/h slower than the fastest speed achieved at a Grand Prix weekend.
Valtteri Bottas reached 378km/h on Baku City Circuit’s main straight in qualifying for the 2016 European Grand Prix. The record for the fastest speed achieved in a speed trap during a race is also held by Bottas, who was travelling at 372.5km/h during the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix.
The fastest speed ever achieved by an F1 car is 397.360km/h, set by the Honda F1 team back in 2006, in a modified version of their 2005 car on the Bonneville Salt Flats in the USA.
WHERE WILL JEDDAH RANK IN F1’S LIST OF FASTEST TRACKS?
According to F1, the average speed on a qualifying lap at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is expected to be 252.8km/h. If that were the case, the pole lap would be the 23rd fastest in F1 history. Monza, Silverstone and the original Österreichring circuit are the only venues where faster pole laps have been set.
18 pole laps at Monza have been taken at an average speed than what is expected in Jeddah. Teo Fabi and Nelson Piquet lapped faster than 252km/h at the Osterreichring in 1986 and 1987, while Keke Rosberg (1985), Nelson Piquet (1987) and Nigel Mansell (1990) all set faster pole laps at Silverstone.
WHAT’S THE CURRENT FASTEST STREET CIRCUIT?
The fastest street track so far on the 2021 calendar is Baku City Circuit. The fastest pole lap there was set by Valtteri Bottas in 2019, setting a lap at 215.044km/h. Monaco is the only other street circuit F1 has visited this year. In 2019, Lewis Hamilton set the fastest ever qualifying lap in Monte Carlo at what sounds like a relatively pedestrian 171.211km/h.