Qatar has emerged as F1’s next likely new host.
We reported last October that the Arab state, already the host of a floodlit MotoGP race at the Losail circuit outside capital Doha, was looking to host “F1 teams (for) pre-season testing and other activities”.
Indeed, F1 race director Charlie Whiting inspected the circuit at the time and “was impressed with what he saw”, Qatar motor racing federation chief Nasser bin Khalifa Al Attiyah said.
Now, the Spanish sports newspaper El Mundo Deportivo is reporting that Spain “may lose its monopoly of winter testing next season”, following the most recent winter of bad weather in the country.
Correspondent Raymond Blancafort said Bahrain has already applied to host a pre-season test in 2014, while “Abu Dhabi and Qatar have also forwarded their desire” to host F1 teams next winter.
The El Mundo Deportivo report said Qatar and Abu Dhabi could have the advantage, because of their capacity to floodlight the circuit and therefore provide the opportunity for testing in a range of track and ambient temperatures.
Moreover, the Middle East would almost guarantee good weather and dry running, whilst the eager circuit hosts offer tempting conditions in terms of top facilities and free rent.
Pirelli’s Paul Hembery is quoted as saying: “We are in favour of change.
“I discussed this with Bernie (Ecclestone) and several of the teams (last) weekend.
“It would be good to test in conditions more representative of what we find during the season, and it would help the teams to get a better understanding of the tyres,” he added.