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EXCLUSIVE: F1 champion reveals LOVE for street circuits like Jeddah

EXCLUSIVE: F1 champion reveals LOVE for street circuits like Jeddah

EXCLUSIVE: F1 champion reveals LOVE for street circuits like Jeddah

EXCLUSIVE: F1 champion reveals LOVE for street circuits like Jeddah

Formula 1 is gearing up for the first street circuit visit of the 2024 season at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The championship is heading to more city roads each year than ever before, and that's something that F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve is enjoying.

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"Street courses, I love them," said Villeneuve in an exclusive interview with GPFans before the season, explaining that, "It's great because it gives you a better impression of speed that you've lost with these big cars."

That's a benefit for those watching, not the 20 drivers, the 1997 champion clarified:

"These cars are faster than the ones I raced. But they look slower. That's an issue.

"It's wrong when it looks slow, and they're not; they're crazy fast. But they're so stable that they look slow. It takes away from the excitement.

"Street courses... if you have a background close to a wall, it suddenly looks faster than if you have a huge asphalt runoff.

"Asphalt runoffs make it look slow; a gravel trap makes it look a little bit faster. So, a lot of it is visual."

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The proximity to walls makes street circuits look much faster believes Jacques Villeneuve

Track Limit Leniency

Concrete walls are certainly a more punishing element than a white line, as the Jeddah Cornice Circuit has proved in its three previous races.

We've had four Safety Car appearances in three races, plus two red flag stoppages in Saudi Arabia.

So, does Villeneuve think the asphalt runoffs seen elsewhere are too forgiving?

"[Runoffs are] very lenient because an average driver can go to the limit.

"He can train in the simulator, get to the track, and just stay flat, and it's 'Okay because it worked in the simulator. It will work on the track, and even if I go a little bit wide, it won't matter.'

Jacques Villeneuve confirmed his F1 street circuit love

"I think it pushes the level down a little bit. A driver like Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, or Max Verstappen will still make the difference, but a smaller difference.

"Because drivers like these, these three drivers, even without simulators, could figure out where the limit was by taking the risk.

"For an average driver, when you would see a wall, they'd say, 'Okay, now I have to back off' and couldn't find a way to build himself to get to that limit because he couldn't feel it.

"Now he knows it's okay, so he goes through the motions instead of having felt it."

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F1 FIA Saudi Arabian Grand Prix GPFans Jeddah Jacques Villeneuve
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