Qatar gearing up to enter Formula One
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