Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali explains talks to host a Grand Prix in Qatar later this year, despite concerns about ‘sports washes’ in the Gulf state
- Qatar likely to make Formula 1 debut on November 21, Bahrain on standby
- Stefano Domenicali confirmed that the calendar will be reduced from 23 to 22 laps
- Japanese Grand Prix will not take place this year due to ongoing Covid concerns
- There are concerns about the ‘sports wash’ effect of racing in the Gulf state
Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali is in advanced talks with Qatar about organizing a grand prix there this year.
The controversial move – which will spark claims of ‘sportswashing’ of human rights abuses in the Gulf state – comes despite Domenicali confirming that the calendar will be reduced from 23 to 22 laps after the proposed Japanese race fell victim to Covid concerns.
Qatar’s likely debut is set for November 21, as the last of a triple header with Mexico and Brazil.
Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali is in talks with Qatar about organizing a grand prix this year
If Qatar, which will also host the World Cup next year, does not go ahead, authorities in neighboring Bahrain will be on standby to host their second race of the season.
Domenicali said: ‘Yes, it is true that there have been talks. I can’t confirm or deny anything because it would be wrong on my part. We need to find a solution to the Australian cancellation and we will announce that shortly.
“Realistically we are now aiming for 22 races.”
The addition of Qatar – the existing Losail International Circuit 20 miles outside Doha will be used – would bring the number of Arab countries hosting F1 Grand Prix to four, with Saudi Arabia taking the stage for the penultimate round on December 5. Abu Dhabi next week
The Japanese Grand Prix will no longer take place this year due to ongoing Covid concerns