Qatar could be Formula 1’s latest addition to the calendar if reports are to be believed that the oil-rich nation is close to signing a deal to host a round of the championship.
It’s no secret that Qatar wants F1 to visit, but neighbouring Bahrain has a clause in its contract which allows it to veto any other Middle Eastern races aside from Abu Dhabi.
Considering Bahrain and Qatar are just 20km apart, it’s no surprise the former has previously enacted its veto powers. However it seems those issues have now been resolved.
The FIA’s Middle Eastern vice-president, Nasser Bin Khalifa Al Attiyah, who is also head of the Qatari National Sporting Authority (QMMF) and general manager of Losail International Circuit, says a contract which would see the country join the F1 calendar in either 2016 or 2017 is all but signed.
“We are about to sign contracts to organise a Formula One race,” he told the AFP news agency this week.
“We have completed all the steps and there are only a few details before the official signature.”
Al Attiyah is to offer two options, with a race on the current Losail circuit just north of Doha, or a street circuit either in the capital city itself or the newly created city of Lusail which will play host to the 2019 World Athletics Championship and the 2022 World Cup.