JULY 23, 2021
Qatar emerges as 2021 F1 race alternative
Qatar has emerged as a potential replacement race in 2021, as dark clouds gather over several scheduled grands prix in the second half of the season.
Even at Zandvoort, where Dutch authorities have already given race organisers all the necessary permits to plan for a full house of 105,000 spectators per day in early September, new uncertainty is now arising.
That is despite the fact that De Telegraaf reports that workers are currently "busy building and preparing all the temporary hospitality areas and stands".
"However, there is uncertainty due to the high rate of coronavirus infections and the current multi-day event pause until August 14," the Dutch newspaper added.
With Australia already cancelled, there are also fears about Japan - especially as a world endurance championship race scheduled for September at Fuji has been scrapped.
Also cancelled in Japan, where spectators will be mostly barred from the Olympics, is October's MotoGP race at Motegi.
"According to our information, a decision about Suzuka has to be made by August 10," claims Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Tobias Gruner.
A second race in Austin may be one solution, but there are also fears about Brazil - where there are up to 50,000 covid cases and 1500 deaths per day.
"However, Sao Paulo absolutely wants to hold the grand prix," Gruner claims. "For contractual reasons, that makes it difficult for Formula 1 to take the race off the calendar."
Nevertheless, Formula 1 is working on a back-up plan - for another race in the less restricted Middle East region.
"That would make logical sense," said Gruner. "Not just logistically, but there is a low risk of cancellation in the region when it comes to corona."
Another race in Bahrain is one option, but a new candidate is Qatar. According to Auto Motor und Sport, Saudi Arabia's neighbour has been "trying to get a grand prix for a long time".
"We hear that large sums of money have already been offered in the negotiations to persuade the sport to race at the Losail International Circuit on the outskirts of Doha," he said.