The Jeddah track has undergone several changes, including moving the walls back and making the kerbs less aggressive. These modifications have created the potential for drivers to explore the track limits in some corners which, in turn, could lead to penalties being imposed by FIA race director Niels Wittich. His note to teams stated that the white lines define the track edges and that laps will be invalidated by the stewards whenever drivers fail to negotiate within the track limits during qualifying or the race. As for drivers, they expect to understand the track changes’ impact during Friday’s practice.
Some drivers expressed their opinion on the potential for track limit abuse in the modified Jeddah track. Mercedes‘ Valtteri Bottas said, “There’s a few places that yes, it can have you over, obviously with extended walls compared to the track edge.” However, he added that the circuits are well-policed nowadays, so it shouldn’t be a big issue. Red Bull‘s Alex Albon believes that the changes made the circuit better than before, though he added that it may open up the track limits now. Meanwhile, Haas‘ Nico Hulkenberg expects the potential penalty to deter drivers from exceeding the track’s limits.
Nyck De Vries, driver for AlphaTauri, admitted that getting up to speed on the new track would require caution because using the kerbs is now easier than before. He said, “I’ll leave others to try and explore that area first!…On all the exit kerbs basically the tarmac is running into the kerb. You can still bottom out, but not like that your wheels drop behind the kerb, effectively.”