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Formula One have announced that Qatar’s Losail International Circuit will join the calendar this season on November 19-21, as well as signing an additional 10-year deal to host F1 from 2023, with a show-stopping final few races of the season expected between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Qatar will host the 20th round of the Formula One season for the first time ever, followed by the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on December 3-5, with the season finale taking place in Abu Dhabi on December 10-12.
The circuit is a permanent fixture for two wheels, with Losail having hosted the MotoGP series since 2004, adding to a middle eastern triple header come the end of the season.
A statement from F1 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.
“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.”
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Due to the global pandemic, the Formula One calendar has seen a number of changes, with the championship unable to visit Singapore, China, Canada, Australia, and Japan.
Formula One President and CEO Stefano Domenicali was pleased with the efforts of the Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) and the Qatari Authorities who were integral in turning around a race at such short notice.
“We are very pleased to welcome Qatar to the Formula 1 calendar this season and for the longer term from 2023,” said 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.”
Jean Todt, FIA President, added: “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.”
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