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Qatar eyeing F1

NEWS STORY
26/03/2008

Organizers at Qatar's Losail circuit, which recently hosted the first ever MotoGP night race, more than six months before F1 hosts its maiden night event, have revealed plans for an upgrade which would bring the track up to Formula One World Championship standards.

"We are planning a massive upgrade of the circuit to make it possible to host Formula One races when the time comes," Qatar Motor and Motorcycling Federation president Nasser Khalifa al-Attiyah told Qatar's Gulf Times. "We will be shortly inviting tenders for the job and once we decide on whom to award the contract, work will start soon."

The news will delight F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who, in addition to seeking new, cash rich, pastures for F1, is also looking for venues willing to host events at times user-friendly to TV viewers in Europe. The fact that Qatar has already successfully hosted a night race being the icing on the cake.

The announcement comes less than two weeks before Bahrain, currently the only Middle Eastern country on the F1 calendar, hosts its round of the World Championship.

Next year, Abu Dhabi hosts a Grand Prix, while Dubai is to be home to the first of a series of official F1 'theme parks', with Ferrari opening its own version in Abu Dhabi.

While the Losail track will be brought up to F1 standards, al-Attiyah refused to confirm that organizers will be immediately seeking a Grand Prix.

"You cannot say what is going to happen in the future," he said. "Formula One teams can use the track for testing which will put Qatar on the map and also help us earn good revenue."

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