22.8 C
Doha
Monday, March 8, 2021

Official: Unresolved Bahraini objections blocking Qatar’s F1 ambitions

-

2013 Bahrain Grand Prix
2013 Bahrain Grand Prix

Qatar’s dream of hosting a Formula One race has hit a major snag after a top racing official revealed that Bahrain – which was the first Middle East country to stage a grand prix – can effectively veto the addition of other races in the region.

For more than two years, motorsport enthusiasts in Qatar have been pushing for the Losail International Circuit to join Bahrain and Abu Dhabi in hosting a Formula One grand prix race.

Bahrain Grand Prix
Bahrain Grand Prix

In 2012, Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation president Nasser Khalifa Al Attiyah made a pitch to the sport’s governing body to host pre-season testing. In addition to the training activities, he told AFP that he’d like to see an actual Grand Prix come to Qatar.

“We have great ambitions to host F1,” Al Attiyah said at the time.

Last month, several motorsports publications reported that Qatar was poised to be added to the calendar. Bernie Ecclestone, the CEO of the Formula One Group, subsequently confirmed that discussions were well underway.

“We are looking at all possibilities there. Qatar is not signed but they are ready to go,” he said, according to a report in The Independent.

But less than three weeks later, Ecclestone was quoted as saying there was “a bit of a problem.”

“I made a deal with the people in Bahrain and they said, ‘If we are going to be something new in this area, which we are, will you give us a guarantee you won’t put another race on in the area, in the Gulf?’ I said yes. Typical Ecclestone handshake deal with the Crown Prince,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

Officials in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi were able to reach an agreement ahead of the emirate being added to the calendar in 2009. However, discussions this time around haven’t appeared to go as smoothly.

“Then this other race (in Qatar) has been proposed and I put the people together and said ‘Can you sort this out between you?’ and they haven’t managed to do it,” he said.

2013 Bahrain Grand Prix
2013 Bahrain Grand Prix

Bahrain receives a significant number of tourists during its race, which is estimated to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into its economy.

There has been little speculation or commentary as to why the country would object to Qatar’s entry. However, relations between the two Gulf nations have been strained in recent months.

Bahrain was among the three GCC states that pulled their ambassadors from Doha due to political reasons, but the spat has now apparently been resolved. Its envoy from Manama returned to Qatar earlier this month.

Al-Attiyah could not immediately be reached for comment.

Host ambitions

Qatar is working to establish itself as an international sporting hub by hosting major athletic events such as next month’s Men’s Handball World Championship, the 2019 World Championships in Athletics and the 2022 World Cup.

Qatar MotoGP
Qatar MotoGP

The Losail International Circuit was constructed in 2004 at a cost of between $60 million and $75 million, according to various media reports. The 3.375-mile road course currently hosts motorcycle races MotoGP and GP2, as several other events such as rallies and endurance races.

Qatar has also previously worked to establish itself as a racing hotspot off the track.

Up until a year ago, the Qatar Science and Technology Park was home to the Williams Technology Center, an arm of a racing engineering firm that focused on developing and commercializing technologies with origins in Formula One.

In a statement to Doha News in January, Williams said it was restructuring the center and moving it key R&D programs to the UK.

Thoughts?

21 COMMENTS

Subscribe
Notify of
21 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ali El Ali
Ali El Ali
6 years ago

The Question is will they allow them to spray Champagne after winning a race ??

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Ali El Ali

Nope. Which holds true in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Monaco

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Yep, they use some fruity fizzy drink in similar bottles, doesn’t affect the racing or celebration on bit from the countless races and podium celebrations I’ve watched

rory
rory
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Why Monaco?

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  rory

Royal family is usually around handing out prizes I believe, they’ll spray it later, but not the same

Coco
Coco
6 years ago
Reply to  Ali El Ali

I think Barbican got this contract…

Diego
Diego
6 years ago

I believe Qatar could definitely do a good job at hosting it.Bahrain will not want to loose it,but I feel it has definitely lost some appeal as a host since the past two years.The bigger question for me is the track has some limitations for F1,essentially it is a bike track.But then street circuits have limitations as well.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Diego

Ya not exactly Yas circuit up there is it? There are a lot of circuits already on the calendar that have limitations, so just adding another wouldn’t be great for the sport, or for the host, so hopefully that application comes with some upgrades and excitement. Ecclestone is a dictator and that deal seems short-sighted, Bahrain have lost the race once, probably don’t want to lose it again

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

i heard it will cost $76 million a year to host the event!! not worth it

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

You can’t put a price in vanity……

Althani
Althani
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

We like to waste a lot.

Big Biker
Big Biker
6 years ago

Monaco? The principality of excess.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

Very disappointing, but still glad we get motogp here

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago

qatar doesnt have a suitable track – lusail is not F1 capable

Bling
Bling
6 years ago

“could not be reached for comment” every news

mike bowden
mike bowden
6 years ago

Why worry about Lusail – go on the Salwa road any time of any day, many bafoons who think they have F1 here now!

Ben
Ben
6 years ago

The Lusail track could not be anymore dull and uninspiring sat in the middle of the dessert.
I am all for F1 coming here and would love to see it but I think if they are serious about hosting a race for many years they need to go all out for a Yas Marina type complex.

Coco
Coco
6 years ago

Why not start like a Middle-East F1 type thingy? Or an alternative to F1? Should be interesting and a lot more fun seeing some new faces behind the wheel.
Also it’s kind of depressing that a moto circuit is empty most of the time. Organize something like an internal championship…it will draw crowds in.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Coco

They have one. I think they’re racing this week. Cars and bikes. But ya agree on they could do more

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

You’re right. They do have one this week. West Bay. It’s around midnight and I can hear it from my bedroom window! 🙂

wee_johnnie
wee_johnnie
6 years ago

I guess it will all depend on whether Bernie needs his pension pot topped up before he hands over the sport to someone else.

Related Articles

- Advertisment -

Most Read

Msheireb Doha Downtown responds to backlash over restroom sign

0
Msheireb Doha Downtown management has taken down a restroom sign that has criticised online. A sign from toilet facilities in Msheireb Doha Downtown (Msheireb) sparked...

Subscribe to Doha News below!

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.