F1 announces first-ever Grand Prix in Qatar scheduled for November

Formula One has announced the first-ever Qatar Grand Prix which is set to take place this season on November 21, to fill the void left by the cancelled Australian Grand Prix.

Round 20 of the 2021 calendar will now see drivers head to Lusail instead of Melbourne to race at the Lusail International Circuit in a twilight race in the third to last race of the season.

The race will be the first of three in the Middle East to close out the season and is followed by the Saudi Arabian and Abu Dhabi GPs on December 3 and 10, respectively.

After the announcement, F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali stated: "We are very pleased to welcome Qatar to the Formula 1 calendar this season and for the longer term from 2023.

"We have shown that we can continue to adapt and there is huge interest in our sport and the hope from many locations to have a Grand Prix. The huge effort from all the teams, F1 and the FIA has made it possible to deliver a 22-race calendar, something that is very impressive during a challenging year and something we can all be proud of."

The Lusail International Circuit is no stranger to hosting professional motorsport events having hosted MotoGP events from as early as 2004.

In addition, it will become a regular night-time race on the calendar from 2023, one year after Qatar hosts the FIFA World Cup for the first time.

The F1 also released a statement in line with making the announcement, which reads: "There was a strong will from Qatar to be helpful to F1, and in the course of this process, the vision for a longer partnership was discussed and agreed for 10 years.

"The step from the gesture to be helpful to F1 in 2021 to a long term strategy was short and simple and the vision for F1 to be the showcase for Qatar after the FIFA World Cup in 2022 was the driving force behind this long term agreement.

"As part of the longer-term deal, discussions will continue regarding the location for the Grand Prix from 2023 with further details to be provided at a later time."

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton currently leads this year's Drivers' Championship from rival Max Verstappen by just two points with seven races remaining.

The drivers take a break this weekend after last week's Russian Grand Prix before the head to Tuzla for the Turkish Grand Prix on October 10.

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