Qatar will host a Formula One race for the first time this November and for 10 years starting in 2023.
The Persian Gulf nation is left with the last remaining place to be filled in the reconfigured 2021 calendar. The race will be held at night, starting at 6 pm, on November 21 at the Losail International Circuit.
As the 20th of 22 races this season, Qatar preceded the first edition of the Saudi Arabian GP in Jeddah on December 5, and the Abu Dhabi GP, which will drop the curtain on December 12.
“Qatar was very willing to help F1 and as part of that process a broader agreement was discussed and approved,” F1 said in a statement. “The vision of F1 as a showcase for Qatar after the (football) World Cup in 2022) was the motivating element.”
The race will be held exactly one year prior to the start of the 2022 World Cup, on November 21 in Al Khor, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Doha. It will be another global event in Qatar after the World Athletics Championships in Doha two years ago.
It won’t be raced in Qatar next year due to the World Cup, so the decade-long deal will go into effect the following year.
The 5.4-kilometer (3.4-mile) circuit, with capacity for 8,000 spectators, is located north of Doha and has been the venue for MotoGP since 2004.
It was unclear if Losail will continue to host F1 from 2023, as the circuit will need to be modified, so there is a strong possibility of another site. F1 limited itself to saying that it is a matter that is being debated.
The cancellation of the Japanese GP, which was to be held on October 10, due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, caused the changes in the calendar.
The Turkish GP, originally scheduled for October 3, took the place in Japan.
Although the United States GP remained fixed for October 24, the Mexican GP went from October 31 to November 7 and Brazil changed from that date to November 14.
“We have shown that we can adapt and there is a lot of interest in our sport, and the hope of many places to have a Grand Prix,” said F1 president Stefano Domenicali. “F1 and the FIA have made the 22-race calendar possible, which is very impressive in such a difficult year.” (AP)