F1 to host inaugural Qatar Grand Prix
Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali has revealed for the first time that talks have taken place over a first Qatar Grand Prix in November.
In an interview with the PA news agency, Domenicali also confirmed that the sport’s revised schedule – which will be presented to team managers ahead of qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday – will drop from 23 races to 22.
Although a deal for a round in Qatar – which is expected to take place at the Losail International Circuit 20 miles outside of Doha – has yet to be finalized, it is believed to be the frontrunner to fill the vacant slot. left by the canceled Australian Grand Prix.
With Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi retaining their places as the campaign finals on December 5 and 12 respectively, that means the season is expected to end with three races in the Middle East.
A second round in Bahrain is the fallback option if an agreement to race in Qatar, the venue for the World Cup next winter, cannot be reached.
“Yes, that’s right, there were discussions [about a race in Qatar]”said Domenicali.
“I can’t confirm or deny anything at this point as that would be a mistake on my part. We need to find a solution for the Australian cancellation, and we will announce the schedule soon, hopefully before the end of this weekend. “