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Only two races are left in the Formula 1 season, with the Constructors’ and Drivers’ championships still up for grabs. This makes this weekend's race in Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah street circuit an interesting second-to-last race. This is another first-time track, and as with Qatar last weekend, this race will be run under the lights. The new track looks to be extremely fast and may end up being the fastest city circuit in Formula 1. The average speed around the ancient city of Jeddah may just be slightly slower than the fastest track on the calendar, Monza, Italy.




It’s great to see new cities on the calendar this year, especially with the new generation of Formula 1 cars coming in 2022. We’ll then see how the old generation matches up with the new generation on these beautiful new circuits.


As many of you may already know, each team builds a new car each year to match the new regulations introduced. In most years, those changes are minor. In 2022, the regulations are changing quite dramatically — so much so that the car will look very different from the current car.


There are many reasons why Formula 1 implements these drastic changes every five to ten years, but the main reason for the 2022 change is to assist teams with reducing the wake of the air coming off the car and the effect the wake has on the car behind. This disturbed air or “dirty air” makes it difficult for the car behind to pass. Formula 1 cars are meant to slice the air like a knife, but if that air is disturbed, the car can’t cut through the air efficiently. Even with minor Formula 1 regulation changes through the years, they just couldn’t get the cars in the current format to prevent dirty air from affecting the car. This effect causes less ability to pass once cars get close to each other. Less passing can make the race less fun to watch and affects the overall commercial significance of the sport.


What’s really interesting is that this journey of understanding the cars’ effect on each other started in 2017. This analysis was completed mostly through computation, not on a track or in a wind tunnel.


There are four major changes to the design of the car:


Tyres/Wheels - The front wheels create the majority of the wake that affects the cars behind. The new wheels and tyres will cut down that wake with new components and a small wing over part of the top of the wheel.


Ground Effect Floor - There’s more of a shape to the ground effect, and the barge boards were removed. It was found that the barge boards are great for the lead cars but not for the cars behind. The new floors are much stronger and allow for less importance of the front and rear wings to assist in the downforce of the car.


Front Wing and Nose - The front wing and nose will be slightly higher than on the current generation. This is to help the air to be pushed through the new ground effect floor which will help with the downforce. The nose can also be configured differently per the team's choice.


Rear Wing - The rear wing is a very different-looking, mushroom-like wing. An interesting piece is that the drag reduction system (DRS) will still be a regulation that will be used. Based on the new shape of the car it seemed that DRS may have been considered to be removed. It will be interesting to see how teams interpret the rear wing. Even though these cars will be running through the corners much faster, it was found that DRS will still be needed to push through the straights and release the drag of the car in front.


These changes to the regulations, along with many others, will change how teams work with their cars for the 2022 season. The great hope is that teams will use the new regulations to create cars that add to the excitement of the sport and create more passing opportunities for the drivers. I know I’m really excited for the 2022 season and the new generation of Formula 1 cars.


Check out this video with an interview with the head of Formula 1’s aerodynamics, Jason Somerville.

Saudi Arabia Grand Prix

Jeddah Corniche Circuit

This is the second fastest and second longest track on the F1 calendar. This street circuit is a beautiful track that wraps around a small water inlet and looks out over the sea. This track is not for the faint of heart. With 27 turns and extremely high speeds will test the driver's courage on every lap. Turns 21-23 are particularly hairy. As you come to turn 21, it’s almost a blind turn and then immediately sweeps into 22 and 23. This race will be run at night due to the high heat and humidity of Jeddah. This will be an interesting track in the years to come. With a tight track comes a lot of risk especially in lap 1. We’ll see how brave our F1 heroes are this weekend.

Free Practice Recap

How to read: session #, best lap time, (time behind first place time) number of laps in session, best place finish in session.


Lando Norris #4

FP1 1m31.029s (+1.243s) 23 laps 13th 

FP2 1m30.004s (+0.986s) 23 laps 12th

FP3 1m29.300s, (+1.200s), 18 laps, 10th


Daniel Ricciardo #3

FP1 1m30.608s (+0.822s) 25 laps 8th

FP2 1m29.968s (+0.950s) 22 laps 11th 

FP3 1m29.717s (+1.617s) 19 laps 14th



Qualifying Recap

How to Read: session #, fastest lap time, best place finish in session.


Lando Norris #4

Q1 1m28.338s, (Softs), 7th

Q2 1m28.344s, (Softs), 7th

Q3 1m28.180s (Softs), 7th 



Daniel Ricciardo #3

Q1 1m28.216s (Softs) 3rd 

Q2 1m28.668s (Softs) 11th


Race Recap:

Well if you like race starts, this was the race for you. Three restarts occurred during the race due to incidents that needed to be cleaned up. This is a very tight track and mistakes or issues that happen are pretty costly. This race was not for the faint of heart as even the announcers were nervous for the drivers.


Of course, as usual, Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo jumped off the line at the first start. I’d love to compare McLaren’s starting times to the rest of the field. It seems like every race Lando and Daniel get a much better jump off the line than everyone else. This of course causes a lot of chaos with the cars ahead and luckily this round both McLarens were able to stay clean unlike many other teams.


Lando started off really well in 5th. He was one of the only drivers on the super soft tyre, which gave him ample speed in the beginning of his stint, but the tyres quickly started to go. When a yellow flag came out Lando quickly ducked into the pits to put on a fresh set of medium tyres.


Unfortunately, just after the yellow flag came out, the race went to a red flag, which allowed the teams to change tyres. This ruined Lando’s ability to move up through the field during green flag pit stops since now no one needed a pit stop. From that point Lando was back in 14th and worked his way back into the point and into 10th. 


Daniel on the other hand gained from these yellow and red flags and was able to push his way all the way to 4th. He did a stellar job of keeping the racers behind him, but eventually his tyres went off and he finished 5th.


McLaren should be really proud and optimistic about their future. This second half of the season they just ran into some very unlucky situations. If those events hadn’t happened, they’d likely be in 3rd for the Constructors Championship. With only one race left, McLaren will try to finish on a high note and go into 2022 with a lot of excitement.





Saudi Arabia 2021 Podium


Drivers Championship Points


Constructor Championship Points


Lewis Hamilton


Max Verstappen




Max Verstappen


Lewis Hamilton


Red Bull


Valtteri Bottas


Valtteri Bottas




Full F1 results


Next Race: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Date: Sunday, December 12

Track: Yas Marina Circuit

Dan Menke
Community Analytics and Operations Manager

Dan is the Community Operations Manager at Alteryx. From optimizing moderation processes, to exploring new engagement techniques, Dan spends his days supporting clients by cultivating great Community experiences.

Dan is the Community Operations Manager at Alteryx. From optimizing moderation processes, to exploring new engagement techniques, Dan spends his days supporting clients by cultivating great Community experiences.