Inaugural race to be held on November 21.
Formula One announced on Friday that the Losail International Circuit in Qatar will hold the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix on November 19-21. Along with becoming the latest addition to the Formula One calendar, a 10-year agreement has also been signed for races starting from 2023.
The Qatar Grand Prix will be filling the slot left by the Australian Grand Prix after it was cancelled earlier this year. The race in Doha will be the final race of a triple header that will start with the Mexican Grand Prix on November 7 and have the Brazilian Grand Prix on the 14th, before moving to Qatar to sign off the triple header.
Qatar’s inclusion also means the final three races of the season will be held in the Middle East, with the maiden Saudi Arabian Grand Prix taking place on December 5 before the season finale in Abu Dhabi on December 12.
The Losail International Circuit, which will be hosting the very first Formula One race in the country, is situated north of the capital city of Doha and was built in 2004. The track isn’t new to racing, though, given it is a constant fixture in the MotoGP calendar.
Details about the timing of the race haven’t been released yet, although it is likely it might be a night race given the weather conditions in Doha during the period.
The addition of the Qatar race means the 2021 season will be a 22-race season and even though races have been cancelled in Singapore, Canada, Japan, China and Australia, Formula One has found a way to make sure racing isn’t affected.
Formula One released a statement that read:
“There was a strong will from Qatar to be helpful to F1, and in the course of this process, the vision for a longer partnership was discussed and agreed for 10 years.
“The step from the gesture to be helpful to F1 in 2021 to a long-term strategy was short and simple and the vision for F1 to be the showcase for Qatar after the FIFA World Cup in 2022 was the driving force behind this long term agreement.
“As part of the longer-term deal, discussions will continue regarding the location for the Grand Prix from 2023 with further details to be provided at a later time.”
Meanwhile, Formula One’s President and CEO, Stefano Domenicali, commented:
“We are very pleased to welcome Qatar to the Formula 1 calendar this season and for the longer term from 2023.
“The Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation and Authorities have been incredible and have moved at great speed to ensure the race can take place this season at the Losail Circuit, famous to many as the host of MotoGP.
“We have shown that we can continue to adapt and there is huge interest in our sport and the hope from many locations to have a Grand Prix. The huge effort from all the teams, F1 and the FIA has made it possible to deliver a 22-race calendar, something that is very impressive during a challenging year and something we can all be proud of.”
Abdulrahman Al-Mannai, President of Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation, added:
“This is a very special day for Qatar Motorsport and our nation’s ambitions as a host of major sporting events.
I’m very proud that we’ve been able to support Formula 1 by stepping in and hosting a race in our country in such a short time frame, while also securing a ground-breaking long term deal with F1.
This exciting agreement means that Qatar will be the home of both Formula 1 and MotoGP for the next decade, which is the pinnacle event in global motorsport. We have a proud motorsport history and this is the next chapter for us. Qatar will be a great destination for F1 and we look forward to welcoming all the drivers, teams, media and fans very soon.”
Qatar is the latest destination to join the Formula One calendar after races in Saudi Arabia and Miami were confirmed recently. The 10-year deal showcases the faith Formula One has in the country’s ability to become a mainstay on the calendar.
Following the 2021 race, the next race in the country will be in 2023 because of the country hosting the men’s football World Cup in 2022.
FIA President, Jean Todt, also spoke about the new partnership and what it means for both parties:
“I congratulate Formula 1, the Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation and the Qatari authorities, who have worked tirelessly to quickly and efficiently make the inaugural Grand Prix in Qatar happen in these challenging times.
“The Losail International Circuit, which will welcome the race, has been working closely with us to ensure they are full prepared for this momentous occasion. We are very proud of this collective achievement. I thank the QMMF President Abdulrahman Al-Mannai and His Excellency Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali, Minister of Culture and Sports, for their involvement.
“This commitment to F1 for the long term, as well as the organisation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and many other international events, is another example of Qatar’s strong passion for sport.”
Racing resumes next week at Istanbul, where Lewis Hamilton secured his seventh world title last season. With Hamilton and Max Verstappen trading blows at each round, the title crown also shuttles between the two with the championship battle set to go down to the wire.