Qatar to fill vacant 2021 season calendar slot, become regular race from 2023 to 2032

Formula 1 will race at the Losail Circuit Sports Club in Doha for the first time ever in November

By Yuri Coghe
F1 simulations predict laps around 1:22.5s for qualifying and 1:28.6s for the 57-lap race (Photo: F1/Twitter)

The 2021 Formula 1 season calendar is finally complete.

The series announced on Thursday that the Losail International Circuit in Doha, Qatar will hold the until then vacant 20th round on the Nov. 19-21 weekend.

The country has also signed a 10-year deal to become a regular in the F1 calendar from 2023, which won’t necessarily happen in Losail.

F1 simulations predict laps around 1:22.5s for qualifying and 1:28.6s for the 57-lap race, and top speeds of 237km/h on Saturday and 220km/h on Sunday.

In late August, F1 announced a revised calendar with one less race than initially planned. Trimming it from 23 to 22, however, kept the 2021 season calendar as record-breaking.

The previous for most all-time events in the same year were the 21-race calendars seen in 2016, 2018 and 2019.

The current season saw many events be cancelled due to COVID-19 related concerns, including the Canadian GP. Japan and Australia were also cut.

It’ll be the first time Qatar will hold an F1 race.

“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,” read an F1 statement.

“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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“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 F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali. “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 5.380 kilometres Losail International Circuit race track was build in 2004 and features 16 turns and a 1.068 metres straight. It’s been part of the Moto GP championship since the year it was built.

“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,” said Abdulrahman Al-Mannai, President of Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation.

“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.”

Seven races to go

The last European event of the year, the Turkish GP set for the Oc. 8-10 weekend, is up next.

The series will then go to North and South America for the U.S., Mexican and Brazilians GPS, moving to the Middle East for the three last rounds in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

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