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Formula 1 Qatar GP

Losail upgraded as Qatar promises F1 race will be annual “World Cup”

Losail circuit has unveiled details of a major programme of upgrades ahead of October's Formula 1 race, and claimed that the event will become the country’s annual “World Cup.”

Lusail International Circuit overview

Qatar stepped in at a late stage during the COVID-hit 2021 season to fill a hole in the calendar left by the cancellation of other events.

The country subsequently signed a 10-year deal with F1 to start in 2023, with 2022 skipped to avoid any clash with the FIFA World Cup.

After the initial F1 event had to deal with the compromises created by small pit garages that were designed for MotoGP, as well as temporary team hospitality buildings in the paddock, the circuit has responded by constructing a completely new pit and paddock complex, as well as adding tunnels and improving access and parking.

“The World Cup was finished already in 2022,” said Amro Al-Hamad, CEO of the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation and the Losail circuit. “We are the new World Cup for the next 10 years.

"We've collected a lot of lessons learned during the World Cup. All the departments, all the authorities in the state of Qatar are eager to actually come and help us out with all that they collected during that period.

“There is a lot when it comes to the organisation of the fans going in and out (and) when it comes to security measures.

"Everybody now is very eager to share their experiences with us to make sure that we deliver an even higher calibre event than the World Cup was.”

Losail International Circuit overview

Losail International Circuit overview

Photo by: QMMF

The construction work will see the creation of a new race control facility and media centre as well as larger pit garages.

"The F1 paddock is state of the art,” said Al-Hamad. “We haven't left any stone unturned. We've collected lots of lessons learned from other circuits around the world.

"The pit boxes are now suitable for F1 racing, opposite to the ones that we had for MotoGP in the past. We have 50 boxes. I don't think that anybody else within the F1 calendar has that number of pit boxes.

"The changes also reached the team buildings. It's a complete change from what we had in the past.

“We used to have one tunnel. Now we have up to four tunnels to serve the entrance and the exit of the spectators.”

As part of the upgrade work the circuit has been resurfaced, although there have been no changes to the layout.

Losail International Circuit overview

Losail International Circuit overview

Photo by: QMMF

While the investment in the Losail upgrades suggests that the permanent venue is now favoured, the option of moving the grand prix to a street layout in Doha has not entirely disappeared.

"It was one of the many ideas that we had already on our agenda,” said Al-Hamad. “It's just something that we explored. Maybe, probably, it's going to be something in the future.

“I'm not telling you it's going to be, but we're just open now for so many ideas. We are not leaving any stone unturned, but it's not confirmed news or anything."

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