Domenicali expects action-packed Qatar night race

Date published: October 2 2021 - Jon Wilde

Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo vie during the Bahrain GP. Sakhir March 2021.

Stefano Domenicali has confirmed the newly-scheduled Qatar Grand Prix will be a night race – and expects it to feature “a lot of action”.

After weeks of speculation, the announcement has finally been made that Formula 1 is to make its first visit to Qatar on the weekend of November 19-21.

That will be the concluding leg of a triple-header of races that begins with Mexico and Brazil, and it also means the last three grands prix this season are all in the Middle East.

Another newcomer to the calendar, Saudi Arabia, and the now traditional finale in Abu Dhabi round off the campaign on December 5 and 12 respectively.

It will be difficult for most Formula 1 teams and drivers to know what to expect from the Losail International circuit, which has been a MotoGP venue since 2004.

Sergio Perez, however, has a slight advantage regarding familiarity, albeit a long time ago, as he won a GP2 Asia race there in February 2009 – as did Aston Martin reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg the previous day.

Domenicali, the Formula 1 CEO, believes Qatar – which will also stage a grand prix on a 10-year deal from 2023 – is an exciting addition.

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“The facility is almost ready, just a few adjustments are missing,” Domenicali told the Italian edition of Motorsport.com.

“The race will take place at night and I’m sure it will be an unpredictable one because F1 is coming to Losail for the first time.

“No car has ever [been] driven there and no tyre tests have ever been held. I expect there will be a lot of action on the track.

“I’m sure that when the teams and riders go to Losail, F1 will have another fantastic event in a season that is already incredible.”

 

Although it only emerged towards the end of July that Qatar was looking set to join this year’s F1 roster, it has now been reported that talks had begun as early as April.

“We were very pleased with the willingness of the Qatar federation to organise a grand prix while another venue [Australia] had to cancel the race,” added Domenicali.

“We have shown we know how to react to difficulties, demonstrating with the 22 races on the calendar this year how strong the system is and how good the relationships we have established around the world are.

“Organising an event is not trivial. We move thousands of people, we talk to governments and we write safety protocols. We have an ability to adapt to change that is exceptional.

“The Qatari desire to be part of the F1 family was immediately apparent. So it was natural to talk about the future, building a long-term partnership.”

 

Qatar Grand Prix announced for November