There have been plenty of Safety Car and VSC periods in Jeddah Corniche Circuit’s three appearances on the Formula 1 calendar so far. Here’s a list of every Safety Car deployment at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Lap 10
The first ten laps of the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix passed with little incident. However, on Lap 10, Mick Schumacher crashed heavily at Turn 21/22, leading to the deployment of the Safety Car. On Lap 13, the red flag was shown and the cars returned to the pit lane.
2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Lap 14
The Safety Car led the drivers around to the grid at the restart of the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. It pulled into the pit lane for the drivers to take the second standing start of the evening.
2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Lap 16
Almost immediately after the restart, the red flags were shown again, this time due to a multi car collision between Sergio Perez, George Russell and Nikita Mazepin. The Safety Car was not deployed as a result of the crash, with red flags used instead. However, the Safety Car did lead the drivers around to the second restart of the race.
This was the third standing start of the race, making the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix only the fourth to feature three standing starts – after the 1987 Austrian Grand Prix, the 1990 Belgian Grand Prix and the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix.
2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Lap 23
The VSC made its first appearance at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on the 23rd lap of the first race in Jeddah. It was called after Yuki Tsunoda deposited his front wing on the track at the opening turns, following a collision with Sebastian Vettel. Both drivers were able to continue in the race.
2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Lap 29
Another brief VSC period occurred six laps later due to more debris on the track.
2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Lap 36
A final VSC period in the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix came on lap 36 due to a piece of bodywork being deposited on the track by Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin. The bodywork had likely come loose in his earlier collision with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda. Vettel retired from the race eight laps later.
2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Lap 17
The Safety Car made a single appearance in the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, as the result of a crash for Williams’ Nicholas Latifi on the 17th lap.
2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Lap 37
As well as a single Safety Car period, there was also a single VSC period in the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. It was called due to Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren car coming to a halt near the entry to the pit lane. The VSC was called while the car was removed, given its dangerous location. The caution period lasted for five laps.
2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Lap 18
The Safety Car made an appearance for the third consecutive Jeddah race at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. On Lap 18, Lance Stroll encountered engine issues and was told to pull over by the Aston Martin team. He did so and the Safety Car was deployed.
To many, it seemed that the deployment of the Safety Car was an overreaction for an incident which could have been dealt with by a VSC period. The FIA later explained in a statement: “From the initial camera angles available the exact position of the stopped car was unclear, and therefore the Safety Car was deployed as the safest option”.
The Safety Car was out for three laps, coming in at the end of Lap 20. It was the only period of caution during the 2023 race.
VSC board graphic: Pitlane02, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0