Qatar gear­ing up to en­ter For­mula One

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - CHRISTIAN SYLT

FOR­MULA One chief ex­ec­u­tive Bernie Ec­cle­stone has re­vealed Qatar is plan­ning to host a grand prix in an ef­fort to build up the sport­ing legacy in the tiny Gulf state.

A grand prix in Qatar would bring For­mula One’s tally of races in the Mid­dle East to three as they would join Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

Sources sug­gest that Qatar would have to pay around £50mil­lion an­nu­ally to host a race, top­ping the record of £46.3m paid by Abu Dhabi.

Qatar’s Lo­sail cir­cuit has hosted the sport’s feeder se­ries GP2 and is home to the motorcycle cham­pi­onship Mo­toGP. How­ever, Ec­cle­stone is not rul­ing out a street race, which would al­low the grand prix to stand out from its ri­vals in the Mid­dle East.

“We are look­ing at all pos­si­bili- ties there. Qatar is not signed but they are ready to go,” says Ec­cle­stone.

A record 20 races will be staged next year with the ad­di­tion of a grand prix in Mex­ico, and Azer­bai­jan will follow in 2016. For years, 20 races was the limit be­cause team staff re­fused to spend more time away. How­ever, that changed last year when the teams signed con­tracts which re­quire majority con­sent from Fer­rari, McLaren and Red Bull Rac­ing if the cal­en­der ex­ceeds 20 races.

Fer­rari yes­ter­day ap­pointed their third team prin­ci­pal in eight months. For­mer Philip Mor­ris ex­ec­u­tive Mau­r­izio Ar­riv­abene has taken over from Marco Mat­ti­acci, who suc­ceeded Ste­fano Domeni­cali only in April.

Fer­rari’s pres­i­dent, Ser­gio Mar­chionne, said: “We de­cided to ap­point Ar­riv­abene be­cause we need a per­son with a thor­ough un­der­stand­ing not just of Fer­rari but also of the gov­er­nance mech­a­nisms and re­quire­ments of the sport.”

The ap­point­ment re­flects the ma­jor re­struc­tur­ing as Se­bas­tian Vet­tel pre­pares to take over from the McLaren-bound Fer­nando Alonso. – The In­de­pen­dent

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