Formula One have announced that the maiden Qatar Grand Prix will take place in November replacing the cancelled race in Australia.
The new race will take place at the Losail International Circuit, north of Doha, on November 21 and will form the first part of a Middle Eastern triple-header as it will be followed by races in Saudi Arabia and the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - taking place on December 5 and December 12, respectively.
Qatar has also signed a 10-year deal to host F1 from 2023. The Australian GP, traditionally a season-opener, was moved towards the end of the season in a bid to ensure it could go ahead in the light of Covid-19 restrictions. Despite that switch, the race in Melbourne was still cancelled for a second year running due to the continuing “logistical challenges” causes by the pandemic.
The Losail Circuit opened in 2004 and has hosted Moto GP since then, under floodlights which will also be used for the Grand Prix.
Despite a number of cancelled races this year — including in Singapore, Canada, Japan and China — the sport is set to complete a record-breaking 22-round season.
Lewis Hamilton heads into the final seven rounds with a five-point advantage over rival Max Verstappen, after the British driver's victory in Russia last weekend.