Qatar will host its first Formula One Grand Prix in November to fill the position left vacant by the cancellation of the Australian GP. The race will take place at the Losail International Circuit, 20 miles outside of Doha, on November 21, and Qatar is scheduled to join the F1 calendar on a 10-year contract starting in 2023.
The inclusion of Qatar before Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi host the final rounds of the campaign on December 5 and 12 respectively, means that Lewis Hamilton’s championship battle with Max Verstappen will end with three races in the Middle East.
Formula One has inevitably faced allegations of sports washing, with human rights issues under scrutiny in the Gulf state, and Amnesty International immediately called on the sport’s drivers to speak out against human rights abuses in the run-up to the GP.
The Grand Prix of Mexico and Brazil (on November 7 and 14) must go ahead, despite the fact that both countries are on the UK government’s red list due to the high number of Covid-19 cases.
Qatar, host of the soccer World Cup next winter, will host the last race of a triple match on successive Sundays following complications arising from the inclusion of Mexico and Brazil on the red list and the mandatory hotel quarantine for thousands of employees of the seven countries of the United Kingdom. -Equipment based on. Despite a series of races canceled this year, including Singapore, Canada, Japan and China, F1 will complete a record 22-round season. Hamilton heads into the final seven rounds, starting in Turkey next weekend, with a two-point lead over Verstappen.
F1 said: “We are very grateful to the Qatar Motorcycles and Motorcycles Federation and the Qatari authorities for their enthusiasm and support in organizing a race this season, on short notice.
“We are also very grateful for his efforts to ensure that the race can take place in November at the Losail International Circuit. Qatar had a strong will to help F1 and in the course of this process the vision of a longer partnership over 10 years was discussed and agreed.
“As part of the longer-term agreement, discussions will continue regarding the location of the grand prize starting in 2023 and more details will be provided at a later time.”
Amnesty International UK Executive Director Sacha Deshmukh said: “It is no secret that rich countries in the Middle East see top-level sport as a means of rebranding and laundering their images, and a grand prize in Qatar. it would be more of the same.
“Having invested large amounts of money in Paris Saint-Germain and hired thousands of foreign workers to build stadiums for the World Cup next year, Qatar is clearly trying to become a sports superpower.”
Deshmukh also highlighted the country’s alleged mistreatment of migrant workers and “its restrictions on freedom of expression and its criminalization of same-sex relationships.”
“Formula One should insist that all contracts related to this race contain strict labor standards in all supply chains. Drivers and their teams must be prepared to speak about human rights in Qatar before this race, doing their bit to break the spell of sports washing and image management. “
An F1 spokesperson said: “For decades, Formula One has worked hard to be a positive force in all places where it competes, including the economic, social and cultural benefits. Sports like Formula One are uniquely positioned to cross borders and cultures to unite countries and communities to share the passion and excitement of incredible competition and achievement. We take our rights responsibilities very seriously and set high ethical standards for counterparties and those in our supply chain, which are enshrined in contracts, and we pay close attention to their enforcement. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism