Circuit type: Temporary street course
Formula E kicked off its next generation of racing cars with its first event in the Middle East in 2018 at the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Ad Diriyah, a short hop from the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh.
The 1.5-mile track features 21 turns and winds its way through the historic area, complete with its adobe brick buildings in a blend of the ancient and the ultra modern. The existing road network has been upgraded to meet FIA standards, with the work performed in close collaboration with UNESCO and the Diriyah Gate Development Authority to ensure that the area's heritage is conserved for future generations.
The Ad Diriyah Formula E site will also has stands that will accommodate tens of thousands of fans on the race day, the concert arena for the three nights, an E Village entertainment area, plus cultural and heritage zones for families.
The first event in 2018 was affected by heavy rain which flooded the track; as a result, the two scheduled practice sessions were cancelled and combined into a single 35 minute session. Qualifying was restructured into a half an hour two-group session that saw António Félix da Costa claim the first pole position of his career.
In the race, Félix da Costa He held the lead for the opening 13 laps until Jean-Eric Vergne passed him going into turn 18 on the 14th lap. As Vergne appeared set to take his first victory of the season, he incurred a drive-through penalty for exceeding the maximum amount of power permitted under electrical energy harvesting. He took the penalty in the pit lane and fell to fifth. Vergne recovered through the field but he could not make a successful pass on the final lap on Félix da Costa who clinched the second win of his career and BMW's first as a Formula E manufacturer.
For 2019, several layout changes were made, with slightly re-profiled corners and a different location for the Attack Mode the key areas of modification. The wall at the final turn (Turn 21) was altered, as has the pit lane layout which has been elongated to now begin at the slight kink after the penultimate Turn 20 corner. The Attack Mode activation zone was also moved, now being located at the Turn 18/19 chicane, moving from it's previous difficult location on the exit of Turn 17.
The Ad Diriyah E-Prix circuit is located at Ad Diriyah, a short drive from the centre of the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh. Riyadh is served by the King Khaled International Airport, which is located about 22 miles (35 km) north of the city and handles both domestic and international flights.
To access the entire Ad Diriyah site, including the racetrack and grandstands, the 180,000 sq me Allianz E Village and the concert arena, you must have an official Formula E ticket, either a three-day ticket or a ticket for the day you are attending.
Ssingle-day and three-day grandstand ticket holders can benefit from a 'Park & Ride' service, which will operate from King Saud University, where parking is available for up to 7,000 vehicles.
Shuttle buses will also operate from a number of locations across Riyadh with pick-up points at Al Faysalaih, Narcissus Hotel, the Hyatt Regency, Four Seasons, Fraser Suites, Holiday Inn Al Maydan, Holiday Inn Olaya, Aloft hotel, Burj Rafal Kempinski Hotel, Sheraton Riyadh Hotel, Executive KAFD Hotel, Movenpick Riyadh Hotel, Mariott King Saud Rd Hotel, Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Panorama Mall and Riyadh Park Mall.
Shuttle bus services begin operating an hour before Ad Diriyah opens to the public. The last bus back from Ad Diryah ranges from 11.30pm to 12.15pm, please check with your individual route for confirmation.