Qatar is said to have signed a deal to host the Grand Prix at the end of this season, as Joe Seward revealed his victory Articles. The race will indirectly replace the canceled Australian GP. The reasons behind the acquisition are most likely related to finance. Racing in the Middle East does not offer a solution to the current quarantine problem.
The news has yet to be officially confirmed, but according to Seward, there is reason to believe Qatar will be on the 2021 calendar. The message in the Middle East is that a deal has been struck for a Formula 1 race in the latter part of this season at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. The race will be an addition to the calendar to replace Australia, for more financial reasons than helping F1 avoid quarantine problems. At the moment, both Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi) are on Britain’s red list. Saudi Arabia does not.
The quarantine issues that Saward is referring to are similar to the color codes the UK has given to Middle Eastern countries. The vast majority of Formula 1 circuses will have to undergo a 10-day quarantine upon their return from a race in Qatar or Abu Dhabi. The solution recently mentioned by the Saudi Arabia Prix promoter is that his race is the best way to finish the season. Then one has to stay in Jeddah for only a few days before returning home. There is only one problem: “Abu Dhabi will pay a premium for hosting the last event.”
So F1 will have to wait to see if the British switch some countries from red to orange next week when the revisions are due. This is also important for the Brazilian and Turkish Grand Prix, as both are still on the red list. “However, if the two of them run a week later in a country that is not on the red list, the quarantine requirements can be largely avoided,” says Saward as a solution to the problem. “Right now, Japan is on the schedule after Turkey, but we don’t have an event that suits Brazil yet.”
Sequel to the World Cup in Qatar
With the addition of Qatar, F1 will at least return to its 23-race target. However, according to Seward, it’s not necessarily an obvious choice. Qatar has always had ambitions to host the Grand Prix, but Bahrain and Abu Dhabi have monopolized Middle Eastern dates on the Formula One calendar. The arrival of the Saudi regional superpower this year appears to have changed the landscape somewhat, and Qatar’s inclusion is particularly interesting given the problems of recent years between the country and its Gulf neighbors, which led to the breaking of diplomatic relations in 2017. A settlement to normalize the situation was only reached in January of this year.
On the other hand, there are also reasons why it would make sense to add Qatar to the F1 calendar. The country will host the World Cup in 2022 and it is not uncommon for Formula 1 to be seen after a major sporting tournament. Barcelona and Sochi are good examples of this concept. So it is very likely that the race in 2021 will be a harbinger of a bid for a permanent place in the Formula 1 calendar. This would suit Formula 1 as it aims to increase the number of World Cup races each year – and the annual revenue of the sport. It could also help other races in the Middle East as it could boost interest in F1 in the region.”
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