Qatar to make F1 debut with Grand Prix in November

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Formula One will race in Qatar for the first time in November with a 10-year deal then following from 2023 once the country has hosted the 2022 soccer World Cup, the sport and local organizers announced on Thursday.

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The race, scheduled for Nov. 21 at the floodlit Losail International Circuit outside Doha, will form part of an unprecedented Middle Eastern quartet of grands prix on the 22-race 2021 calendar.

Bahrain hosted the championship opener in March while Saudi Arabia’s first race is scheduled for Dec. 5 and Abu Dhabi ends the season on Dec. 12.

The Nov. 21 slot had been left unfilled on a rejigged calendar after the cancellation of the Japanese round at Suzuka, one of several races that dropped off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The step from the gesture to be helpful to F1 in 2021 to a long term strategy was short and simple,” said Formula One in a statement.

“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.”

Qatar will follow on from Mexico and Brazil as part of a triple-header of races on successive weekends in November.

Losail is best known for hosting the MotoGP season-opener, a night race.

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