F1| Works at Losail Circuit “nearly completed” ahead of November’s Qatar GP
Michael Masi, the FIA F1 race director says that nearly all work on the updates at Losail Circuit have been completed.
This season will see the inaugural F1 Qatar GP, after signing a 10 year deal from 2023 onwards, hosted at Losail Circuit. Losail has seen it’s fair share of racing, especially MotoGP who’s a regular there, but it never before hosted an F1 race. Michael Masi, the FIA F1 race director visited the venue after the Hungarian GP with F1 sporting director Steve Nielsen, in order to see what work had to be done in order for Losail to be suitable for F1 cars, while the negotiations were still under way.
Ahead of the GP, a new pit entry was required, as well as updating some of the kerbs and barriers. Masi has said that the work that needed to be done is almost complete. As he said: "They're changing the pitlane entry completely. So what was the pitlane entry for bikes will change, dramatically. That work is nearly completed.
"It's a very different ilk in the MotoGP or FIM world. So it's been trying to adapt in a relatively short period, which is the other part that we need to consider, that we're not talking about a huge period of time.
"I'll head there again next weekend, prior to Austin, to have a look, but nearly all the works have been completed.”
Masi said that the works that needed to be carried on in order to host F1 cars there, after the track has been fitted to the requirements of bike racing have been an unusual challenge. As he said: "Obviously the big parts have been safety requirements for bikes when it comes to Tecpro barriers and things like that. There’s a number of double kerbs that have been installed. Obviously, the circuit is ostensibly a bike circuit. So apex sausages, so people don't cut corners on the inside, double kerbs on exits, are the big one from a circuit perspective.
"As well there's a significant number of barrier upgrades, with regards to Tecpro and tyres around the entire venue. But the pitlane entry's probably the biggest actual track change, let's call it.”
With the question of space in the pitlane, the garage complex has been deemed suitable for the F1 requirements, as Masi believes there’s enough space to fit everything. As he said: "There's more than enough. I think it's about 40 garages as a base number. And when we were there, they'd already finished an extra 10, if I recall correctly. So there's 50 pit lane garages in total. There's more than enough space.
"Garages, paddock space, all things like that were all fine from the circuit end. I think it'll be a good little venue for this year.”
This years Qatar GP will complete a three-part Middle Eastern ending of the 2021 season. The race in Qatar will be followed by the Saudi Arabian GP and the usual finish in Abu Dhabi in the second week of December.