Qatar’s Losail track to be upgraded with eye on Formula One

UPDATE (GMM) Qatar is reportedly the latest country that could soon be scrambling to join F1's ever-dynamic race calendar.

We reported one year ago that the Middle Eastern state was planning to follow in the footsteps of neighbors Bahrain and Abu Dhabi in bidding to become a grand prix host.

On Wednesday, the president of Qatar's motor sports federation said the country intends to upgrade the Losail circuit, currently used for MotoGP night races, to be ready for formula one.

"We will be shortly inviting tenders for the job and once we decide on whom to award the contract, work will start soon," Khalifa al-Attiyah told the local Gulf Times newspaper.

He would not be drawn on when the first Qatar grand prix might be held.

"Formula one teams can use the track for testing which will put Qatar on the map and also help us earn good revenue," al-Attiyah added.

03/25/08 Qatar could host a Formula One race some time in the future after the Losail International Circuit is upgraded to accommodate the requirements of the sport, the Gulf Times has learnt.

“Yes, we are planning a massive upgrade of the Losail circuit to make it possible to host Formula One races when the time comes," Qatar Motor and Motorcycling Federation president Nasser Khalifa al-Attiyah told the Gulf Times in an exclusive interview yesterday.

Although al-Attiyah refused to say how many years it will take before Qatar hosts a Formula One race, the QMMF are moving ahead quickly with their plan to make the Losail track compatible with the needs of the sport.

“We will be shortly inviting tenders for the job and once we decide on whom to award the contract, work will start soon," al-Attiyah said.
The 5.38km Losail track was built primarily to host top class motorcycle races and earlier this month made history when it became the first venue in the world to hold a nighttime MotoGP event in the 60-year history of the sport.

Qatar is the only country in the region figuring on both the MotoGP and Superbikes circuits whereas Bahrain features on the Formula One calendar with Abu Dhabi set to join the bandwagon next year.

With two Formula One events in the region, it could be several years before Qatar gets to host its own race, but the QMMF are taking no chances.
“You cannot say what’s going to happen in the future," smiled al-Attiyah. “Qatar is developing by leaps and bounds and the future is very exciting."

The QMMF chief said that even if it takes many years for Qatar to become a part of the Formula One calendar, the Losail track can be still put to good use.
“Formula One teams can use the track for testing which will put Qatar on the map and also help us earn good revenue," he said. Gulf News

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