Since its beginning as a host of MotoGP in 2004, The Lusail International Circuit (LIC) earned a chance to showcase Formula 1 in November of 2021, due to numerous races being canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the rapid turnaround and the track originally designed for two-wheel racing, Qatar successfully held the event, receiving strong commendations from both drivers and team leaders.
Now, with its gears set for another F1 showcase on the October 6-8 weekend, LIC’s CEO, Amro Al Hamad, shares his vision to position the Qatar GP among the world’s best. “Qatar has a proud record of staging major sporting events and has established itself as an important hub for sport. We always try to set the bar high, and our ambition is to not only be a motorsport leader for the region, but for the world,” Al Hamad robustly stated.
He further emphasized that Qatar’s strong organization skills shown in past large-scale sports events showcased their commitment to excellence. Al Hamad added, “We have always been leaders in the field of organization and for hosting huge sports events in Qatar, and this is just a continuation of what we have delivered over the years.”
The LIC’s successful event in 2021 saw Lewis Hamilton of Britain claim victory. However, there were no initial plans to host F1 in Qatar last year as the country was preparing for the FIFA World Cup. Amidst preparations, Qatar displayed its hosting competencies, which FIFA President Gianni Infantino coined the “the best World Cup in history.”
In response to the success of their partnership, Formula 1 and Qatar agreed to include LIC in the F1 calendar for the next ten years, starting 2023. “Being a host for the FIFA World Cup was wonderful for Qatar, but it was certainly not the end of the country’s sporting ambitions,” Al Hamad pointed out.
The LIC renovation offered the chance to further improve the race venue for teams, drivers, and spectators alike. The upgrades involved drastic changes to spectator facilities, adding a fresh layer of asphalt to the track and the introduction of new pit boxes compatible with F1 specifications.
These changes also included new sewage and rain drainage systems, and a complete overhaul of the circuit’s lighting to an advanced LED sustainable system. This facelift, coupled with LIC’s unique floodlights and the fast-paced nature of the track, promises an incredible night-time race.
The LIC’s CEO is highly optimistic about the bearing of these amendments. Al Hamad assures, “The Paddock Club experience will be completely different this year, as will the fan zones, but the most special thing about Lusail is its floodlights, of course, and holding the race at night just adds to the occasion.”
Though the track was altered, it was decided that changes to the circuit’s layout were unnecessary. Al Hamad further indicated, “It is a very safe circuit. It was built for MotoGP, so the run-off areas are completely different than what we are used to at other circuits. We have put a lot of effort into getting everything right for this year’s event, and I am eagerly looking forward to a great weekend.”
Al Hamad exudes confidence over delivering an unforgettable F1 event this year. He stated, “We delivered a very strong event in 2021 and I am confident we will put on an even better F1 this year. Everybody involved in is eagerly looking forward to the event; ticket sales have been great with the main grandstand and north grandstand quickly selling out; we have some exciting post-race entertainment lined up and I am confident the spectators will go home very happy.”