Formula 1 confirms Qatar for 2021 and beyond

Losail International Circuit. Picture: Losail Circuit Sports Club Facebook

Qatar will host a round of the 2021 Formula 1 world championship ahead of gaining a permanent place on the calendar from 2023.

Speedcafe.com reported in August that the Losail International Circuit would step into the void left following the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix.

Formula 1 has now confirmed the move, with the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix to take place on November 19-21.

It will then join the schedule with a 10-year deal from 2023, a move that was also much expected.

“We are very pleased to welcome Qatar to the Formula 1 calendar this season and for the longer term from 2023,” said F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

“The Qatar Motor and 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.”

Speculation surrounding the addition of Qatar emerged shortly after the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix in July.

MotoGP has visited the Losail venue since 2004, missing only last year when the event was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

“This is a very special day for Qatar Motorsport and our nation’s ambitions as a host of major sporting events,” said Abdulrahman Al-Mannai, president of Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation.

“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 are the pinnacle events 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 will be absent from the calendar in 2022 as it hosts the FIFA World Cup before F1 returns the following year, potentially at an alternate venue.

“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,” F1’s statement read.

Formula 1 is in action next for the Turkish Grand Prix on October 8-10.

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