With the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix for the second year in a row, Formula One had a blank space in its 2021 schedule. There has been a TBD on the calendar for several months, and it was starting to get a little bit weird. On Thursday F1 announced that it would be filling that spot with a new Qatar Grand Prix scheduled for the weekend of November 19-21. The race will slot in between Brazil and Saudi Arabia, and will run into the night under the lights with a local start time of 6 pm.
“We are very pleased to welcome Qatar to the Formula 1 calendar this season, and for the longer term from 2023,” said F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali. “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.”
The circuit is already FIA Grade One compliant, so it should be ready to roll when the F1 circuit arrives in November. The 3.3-mile track has played host to MotoGP and World SuperBikes for years, as well as various other FIA series like the World Touring Car Championship and GP2 Asia.
Interestingly, Qatar will not be able to host Formula One in 2022 because it will already be busy hosting the World Cup of soccer. The country has inked a deal with F1 to host ten further Grands Prix after the World Cup is over from 2023 onward. I’m not sure the series needs another flat sandy track in the middle east, but I guess they go where the money is.