Qatar closing on November slot for F1 2021 calendar

Qatar looks increasingly likely to join the 2021 Formula 1 calendar in November as a replacement for the cancelled Australian Grand Prix.

F1 has been exploring a number of options to bolster the second half of the season as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact a number of races.

The Japanese Grand Prix became the latest race to get cancelled last week, joining Canada, Singapore and Australia as events that have been formally scrapped.

F1 officials have been working to find a replacement for the Australian Grand Prix that was originally scheduled for 21 November, with the slot remaining 'TBA' on the current calendar.

But plans are now advancing for Qatar to fill the gap and host its first F1 grand prix in November, according to multiple sources, that would act as a boost to the schedule and hopes to fulfil the planned 23-race season.

The Losail International Circuit holds an FIA Grade 1 licence required to stage F1 events, and has been a mainstay on the MotoGP calendar since 2004, serving as the venue for the opening two rounds of the season earlier this year.

It has also staged World Superbike and World Touring Car Championship rounds, but has not hosted a high-profile single-seater event since 2009 when GP2 Asia raced at Losail. The circuit has full lighting that would allow for a night race to take place, as seen with its MotoGP events.

Start action, Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team leads

Start action, Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team leads

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Qatar's possible addition to the calendar could create a run of races in the Middle East towards the end of the year, with Saudi Arabia (5 December) and Abu Dhabi (12 December) scheduled to close out the season.

Questions remain over the races in Mexico and Brazil, given their UK red list status, while Austin - which has been mooted for a possible double-header in October - is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations.

The red list status of countries hoping to host grands prix later in the year would have a big impact on travel arrangements. Anyone returning to the UK - home to seven of the 10 teams - from a red list country is required to complete 10 days in government hotel quarantine, regardless of their vaccination status.

The Turkish Grand Prix was moved from its original date in June after being added to the red list, but F1 is known to be exploring onward travel options for the race at Istanbul Park planned for 3 October, with a final decision thought to still be a few weeks away.

shares
comments

Related video

Norris feels he found balance between joker and serious on social media

Previous article

Norris feels he found balance between joker and serious on social media

Next article

How Mick Schumacher is making his own F1 name

How Mick Schumacher is making his own F1 name
Load comments
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Prime

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery Prime

Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi...

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1 Prime

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Prime

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. Damien Smith brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1.

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Prime

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus Prime

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021