While F1 Chief Stefano Domenicali previously shut down rumours of a Qatar Grand Prix, reports say he is now in talks with Qatar to host a race.
Formula 1 (F1) Chief Stefano Domenicali has revealed that he is now in talks with authorities in Qatar to hold a Qatar Grand Prix (GP) race in November.
“Yes, it is correct, there have been talks (about a race in Qatar),” said Domenicali, backtracking on earlier statements.
Although extensive discussions with promoters and national authorities have been held, Domenicali said he could neither confirm nor deny anything at this stage because “it would be wrong from my side.”
F1 has also published a revised calendar for the remainder of the season as the number of races drops to 22 due to Covid-19 related cancellations. Qatar is expected to debut with its first GP as it becomes a potential replacement venue.
“The pandemic continues to present the season with challenges but we have proven we can adapt and we are confident we can deliver a record-breaking 22 races this year despite a global pandemic,” said Domenicali.
While F1 has yet to mention Qatar on the list, an announcement is expected soon as it is said to be the frontrunner to fill the slot left by the cancellation of the Australian GP.
A second round in Bahrain would be plan B if a deal for the Qatar races cannot be completed.
Three races were given new dates and one weekend in late November has yet to be finalised, with Qatar likely to fill that gap. The Gulf state’s first Grand Prix is expected to be held at the Losail International Circuit, a facility regularly used by MotoGP.
Rescheduling was required following this month’s cancellation of the Japanese GP at Suzuka for the second year in a row. Earlier this year, the Australian, Singaporean, Canadian and Chinese races were cancelled
Turkey’s Istanbul Park circuit will now take Japan’s October 10 slot. Changes have also been made to the Mexican and Brazilian races which have been pushed back a week to November 7 and November 14 respectively.
“I want to thank the promoters in Brazil, Mexico and Turkey for their patience and flexibility and we will provide the details of the final addition soon,” said the F1 chief.
The new race for the November 21 slot, which is currently giving a nod to Qatar, will be announced soon. If approved, a Middle Eastern run will end the F1 season with Saudi Arabia’s first race on December 5 and Abu Dhabi on December 12.
Dominecalli previously downplayed rumours that Qatar was in the lineup as a potential replacement venue following the recent cancellation of the Australian GP.