A recently inked deal will also see Qatar be a decade-long fixture on the F1 calendar from 2023.
With the Australian GP first being moved back then cancelled altogether in July due to the worsening Covid-19 pandemic down under, there has hence been a gap for quite a while already in regards to the third final race of this current F1 season. Well that gap however has since recently been filled by Qatar, with the Losail International Circuit set to take the place of Melbourne’s Albert Park come the 19th to 21st of November 2021.
The third part of the triple header that consists of both Mexican and Brazilian Grand Prix coming before before it, this first ever race to be held over in the Gulf state will also mark the beginning of what many are now terming to be Formula 1’s Middle Eastern leg. That is as the following after this Qatari event will see the first-ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, before the season closes with a race in Yas Marina over at Abu Dhabi.
Formula 1’s Emirati exploits look here to stay for the long term too, with the sport recently also announcing it has recently finalised a decade-long deal to host a grand prix in Qatar. Though it is nevertheless worth highlighting that this agreement is only set to take effect from 2023 onwards till 2032, with the country skipping next year due to its commitments in hosting the 2022 FIFA world cup.
Interestingly too, it is likely that 2021 will be the only time Losail will officially feature on the championship calendar. Formula 1 did already previously heavily hint at a new location when Qatar become a permanent fixture in the championship (with even a street circuit along the Doha Corniche being mooted at some point in time), but further official details in this department unfortunately remain thin on the ground at the present moment.
Consisting of 16 turns, the 5.38 km Losail International Circuit has been a permanent fixture on the MotoGP calendar since its inception in 2004. It has also played host to international several car racing events over the years, which included the GP2 Asia and World Touring Car Championship (WTCC).
Only 1 of the 20 current Formula 1 drivers on the grid however has had any experience racing at Losail, with Sergio Perez of Red Bull having previously raced over there in the aforementioned GP2 Asia championship over a decade ago back in 2009. This third final race of the season should (hopefully) therefore provide some excitement come race day, particularly when considering the tightness at the top when it comes to both driver’s and constructor’s championship fight.
PRESS RELEASE: Formula 1 can today confirm that the Losail International Circuit in Qatar will be the latest addition to the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship between the 19th – 21st November, with Ooredoo – the international communications company as the title sponsor. Qatar will join the F1 calendar under a 10-year deal from 2023.
We are very grateful to The Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) and the Qatari Authorities for their enthusiasm and support in hosting a race this season, at short notice. We are also very appreciative of their efforts to ensure the race can take place in November at the Losail International Circuit situated just outside the Qatari capital of Doha. 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.
The Formula 1 community will continue to travel this season with stringent safety measures that have allowed us to travel safely this season. Since our restart last season we have conducted over 150,000 tests with 124 positive cases a rate of 0.08% and alongside this a significant proportion of the F1 community has been vaccinated already. We will continue to operate in a way that protects the safety of our personnel and the communities we visit.
Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1, said:
“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.”
Jean Todt, FIA President, said:
“I congratulate Formula One, 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 fully 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.”
Abdulrahman Al-Mannai, President of Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation, said:
“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.”