With the postponement and subsequent cancellation of the 2021 Australian Grand Prix due to the covid-19 pandemic, Formula 1 needed a replacement. Cue Qatar, which will host a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship for the very first time in 2021.
Located on the outskirts of Qatar’s capital city, Doha, the 5.38-kilometre Losail International Circuit is better known for bikes than single-seaters, having hosted a round of the MotoGP World Championship since 2004.
With a near-relentless sequence of 16 demanding, medium- to high-speed corners and an abrasive track surface that hasn’t been re-laid since the circuit was built, this circuit is sure to put drivers and the Pirelli tyres to test. Turns 12-14 form a triple-apex right-hander reminiscent of the infamous Turn Eight at Turkey’s Istanbul Park, albeit in the opposite direction, while the 1.068-km main straight provides an opportunity for overtaking.
With both qualifying and the race scheduled to take place around sunset, at 17:00 local time, the Losail International Circuit is set to dazzle in the desert under floodlights. Just don’t get too used to Losail. While Qatar has signed a contract to host a further 10 further grands prix, the event will move to a purpose-built circuit when it returns to the calendar in 2023.