Qatar is hoping to become the third Middle Eastern state – after Bahrain and Abu Dhabi – to host a Formula 1 race, with FIA President Jean Todt making a visit to the Arab state’s Losail circuit.
The track has played host to floodlit MotoGP races (pictured), and its previous connection to F1 was when it hosted a round of the short-lived 2006 Grand Prix Masters championship that comprised a host of ex-F1 drivers.
Qatar’s Motor and Motorcycling Federation president, Nasser bin Khalifa al-Attiyah, confirmed that the circuit was undergoing changes to qualify for the necessary FIA accreditation that could allow it to host such an event in the future.
He told the Gulf Times: "Surely Formula One is part of our future plans. Once everything is in place the track will be evaluated by the safety commissioner and then the track will be licensed for official Formula One testing. After that we will be ready to be part of the Formula One circuit.”
Al-Attiyah also confirmed that the FIA’s technical chef Charlie Whiting would be visiting the Arab state after the season-opening Bahrain GP.
"We will do what Whiting will suggest,” he said. “We shall fulfil all F1 requirements before we bid for a race.”
Jean Todt appeared particularly enthusiastic about adding a third Middle Eastern race to the already bulging F1 calendar.
"It is easy for Qatar to host an F1 race. It is a commercial matter that has to be solved by the Formula One body (FOM) and the local organisers. We already have two Formula One races in the Middle East. It will be a welcome addition if Qatar also gets it," he said.
Expect to see a Qatar GP come 2011? Don’t bet against it!
[Image via CarMiddleEast]