Qatar was announced today as the latest addition to this year’s Formula 1 calendar in November, along with a ten-year agreement to host F1 races starting from 2023.
With uncertainty surrounding several F1 venues this year due to Covid-19, races in Canada, Australia, Japan, and Singapore were cancelled. Turkey was slotted in to replace Canada and a TBC slot was left in November.
Now that slot has been officially filled by a race in Qatar on November 19-21 ahead of the first ever race in Saudi Arabia on December 3-5. The season will be concluded in Abu Dhabi on December 10-12. This means that the final three races this season will be held in the Arab Peninsula. Qatar has also agreed with Formula 1 to host races starting 2023 and for a duration of 10 years.
Qatar has long been interested in getting involved with F1, with rumors previously linking the rich Arab State with a possible purchase of Formula 1. That however did not materialize and Liberty ended up taking over the sport.
The Qatari Grand Prix – sponsored by Ooredoo, the state owned international communications company – will be held at the Losail International Track, famous for hosting MotoGP races since 2004.
Formula 1: “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.”
F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali:”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: “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 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.”
Jean Todt, FIA President: “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.”