- Qatar GP to fill vacant slot left by cancelled Australian Grand Prix
- Event to take place from 19th to 21st November at Losail International Circuit
- Move adds fourth Middle Eastern race to F1 calendar
Formula One bosses have announced the series will stage its first Qatar Grand Prix in November.
The inaugural race will take place at Losail International Circuit, 20 miles outside of Doha, the PA news agency understands, and fills the vacant slot left by the cancelled Australian Grand Prix.
Formula One announced on Twitter: “F1 will race in Qatar for the first time on 19th to 21st November. Qatar will also join the F1 calendar in a ten-year deal from 2023.”
The series also confirmed that international communications company Ooredoo will title sponsor the event.
With Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi hosting the concluding rounds of the campaign on 5th December and 12th December respectively, the anticipated announcement means Lewis Hamilton’s championship battle with Max Verstappen will end with a hat-trick of races in the Middle East.
Formula One chiefs will inevitably face claims of sportswashing, with human rights issues under scrutiny in the Gulf state.
Both the Mexican Grand Prix on 7th November and Brazilian Grand Prix on 14th November remain in line to go ahead, despite both countries being on the UK government’s red list due to the high number of Covid-19 cases.
Qatar, the venue for next winter’s Fifa World Cup, will form the final race of a triple-header on 21st November to allow Formula One bosses to get around the complications of Mexico and Brazil being on the red list, and mandatory enforced hotel quarantine for thousands of staff of the seven UK-based teams.
Despite a number of cancelled races this year – including in Singapore, Canada, Japan and China – the series is set to complete a record-breaking 22-round season.
A statement from Formula One read: '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 Formula One, and in the course of this process, the vision for a longer partnership was discussed and agreed for ten years.
'The step from the gesture to be helpful to Formula One in 2021 to a long-term strategy was short and simple and the vision for Formula One 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.'
"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," said Stefano Domenicali, Formula One's president and chief executive.
“The huge effort from all the teams, Formula One 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.”