JEDDAH: Three-time Formula One champion Sir Jackie Stewart has come out to praise the “amazing job” done by Saudi Arabia in completing the construction of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, the venue for the highly-anticipated Saudi Grand Prix from Dec. 3 to 5.
The British former F1 driver from Scotland — nicknamed the “Flying Scot” — spoke to Arab News during the special reception held in the gardens of the British Consulate in Jeddah to celebrate the inaugural Saudi Grand Prix.
“It is wonderful to have the Grand Prix in the country and it is going to be an international success,” he said.
On his second visit to Saudi Arabia, Sir Jackie described the transformation taking place in the Kingdom as bold and visionary: “The last time I was here (was) almost nine years ago, but it seems this time a lot of things have changed in Saudi Arabia and I see a very developed country which has a good future and it is obvious.”
He continued: “I think Saudi Arabia succeeded in hosting F1 and this will attract the world to see more of Saudi Arabia.”
He said the Jeddah circuit was amazing when you consider the timescale in which the track has been put together.
“On Tuesday, I had the chance to drive on it and it is a great track. It has a nice flow to it, a wide variety of corners, and is really good to drive. I don’t think I’ve ever driven on such a fast circuit before with so many high-speed corners, so I think it will be quite a challenge for drivers this weekend.”
He added: “I enjoyed my first real taste of the new circuit, I think F1 track designer Carsten Tilke has done a great job.”
The 82-year-old managed to claim three F1 World Championships between 1969 and 1973, with 99 race starts before he retired in 1973, aged just 34.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s big race, the racing legend pointed out that the fight for the Drivers’ World Championship remains close between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
“To be first, you first have to cross the finish line first, it is going to be a tough challenge between Hamilton and Verstappen and we all look forward for the race.”