Qatar will host its first ever Formula One Grand Prix later this year, replacing the cancelled Australian GP, organisers have announced.
The race is scheduled to take place at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit on November 21 and will form the first part of a regional ending to the Formula One season. Races to follow in December will be hosted in neighbouring Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
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Ooredoo, the international communications company, will be the title sponsor for the event.
Qatar also signed a 10-year deal to host Formula One from 2023.
A statement from F1 on its official website said: “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.”
“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,” it said.
Stefano Domenicali, president and CEO of Formula One, said he was “very pleased” to welcome Qatar to the Formula One calendar this season and in the longer term.
“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,” Domenicali said.
“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,” Domenicali added.
Abdul Rahman al-Mannai, president of Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation, said it was 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 One 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 One 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,” al-Mannai said.
“Qatar will be a great destination for F1 and we look forward to welcoming all the drivers, teams, media and fans very soon,” he added.
Formula One only had two regular Grand Prix venues in the Middle East until this year, with Bahrain’s Sakhir circuit first hosting a Grand Prix in 2004 and Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina joining in 2019.