Formula 1 Heads to Qatar in Latest Win for 2022 World Cup Host
Qatar will host its first Formula 1 motor race in November and get a permanent spot on the championship calendar under a 10-year deal that starts in 2023, the latest sporting win for the host of next year’s Soccer World Cup.
The event will be held at the Losail International Circuit and replaces the Australian Grand Prix, which was canceled earlier this year because of the country’s tightened border controls. Qatar will be the fourth Gulf nation on the Formula One calendar after Bahrain, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
“The vision for F1 to be the showcase for Qatar after the FIFA World Cup in 2022 was the driving force behind this long term agreement,” Formula 1 said in a statement on its website on Thursday. The tournament will help boost the tourism sector, which has been hit hard by coronavirus restrictions.
It will also boost Qatar’s efforts to use the wealth from natural gas to transform itself into a sport and cultural capital. In 2010, it overcame concerns about high temperatures and lack of infrastructure to become the first Arab country to win rights to stage the Soccer World Cup.
The country wants to use that tournament to showcase its rapid expansion from a small pearl-diving enclave to Gulf metropolis and transit hub. It expects a $20 billion bump to the economy from the event, equivalent to about 11% of its gross domestic product in 2019.
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