Qatar to hold F1 race ‘within next two years’

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Qatar is poised to announce a deal to hold a round of the world championship in 2015 or 2016, despite the organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix holding a right of veto over the plan.


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Qatar on verge of grand prix deal (The Telegraph)

"The race would be held in 2016 or 2017 either in Losail, which has already hosted Moto GP, or a specially-designed street circuit around the capital Doha."

'House of Cars': How politics will decide Monza’s future (Crash)

"Mr Ecclestone wants to double the amount of money which the Autodromo yearly deposits in his bank account, from current 11-12 to 20-22 million Euros, a figure which would be very hard to collect for SIAS, the society who runs the circuit."

Dennis: 'Mellowing' healed Alonso rift (Autosport)

"I can promise you one thing with Fernando - he never even asked (for number one status). In fact the opposite. Total opposite."


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This week’s Caption Competition was won by Michael C:

While you’re at it, could you update my relationship status?

Thanks to everyone who submitted suggestions this week, especially TGU and Tom L. who supplied two more excellent captions.

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On this day in F1

Five years ago today Force India launched their third Formula One car, the VJM03. Although they didn’t repeat their pole position and podium feats of the year before, the team moved up to a best-yet seventh in the championship.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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83 comments on “Qatar to hold F1 race ‘within next two years’”

  1. that caption contest winner was pretty perfect!

    In other news, just seeing “Qatar to host GP” and “Monza GP in jeopardy” right next to each other is so, so depressing and the exact opposite of what Formula 1 needs. Comparing the two is apples and oranges. Monza brings a much better (and historical) track, more passionate fans and just more fans in general. Bernie needs to stop snubbing the areas that help F1 maintain it’s global prestige in favor of countries that, while wealthy, do not really understand the tradition of the sport and what it really means to host a Grand Prix. I can think of at least 10 nations who deserve a calendar date more than Qatar.

    1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      9th February 2015, 2:03

      you are missing the situation completely:
      bernie doesnt care. thats it. he wants loads of cash in his pockets. what happens with the sport is non of his business, never has been…

      1. I just don’t understand him. He has no sense of reality. On top of that, he will soon be dead. He cares nothing of what F1 will be in the future. An evil, evil man

        1. he will soon be dead

          We’ve been saying that for years and here he is, still alive …

      2. @bgp I understand completely, it’s just frustrating. He’s killing the series more and more with each passing season and alienating fans with every single move. I hate it. I hate him.

        1. Ecclestone miss doing to F1 exactly what Cameron is doing to the NHS. Selling it because neither care about the punter who uses it & only care about profit. Bit o politics there, sorry…

    2. CVC owns FOM, they want profit, and profit has to increase every year. So when CVC see most countries pay $35-40 millon per year they demand Bernie sorts out any circuit paying less. Monza is an easy target, they will look silly if they loose the GP, so Bernie can squeeze them. So the choice is historic GPS pay more or its more flat boring circuits. Qatar just bought the World Cup so a GP will be no problem.

      1. +1. Best explanation I’ve heard.

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      9th February 2015, 10:32

      @theders90 – We can discuss the issues in F1 all we like but there is one common denominator here and that is Bernie. He is a curse on F1 and the day he is no longer involved with F1 will be a day of major celebration for me. It’s nice to know that whoever they pick to replace him, it would be impossible for them to care less about the sport or the fans. We are guaranteed an improvement!

      1. I couldn’t agree more, I just want that to come sooner rather than later (but then again so does everyone). He needs to go while there’s still a series to save.

  2. Oh boy, potentially another “specially designed street circuit”, just what F1 needs. Meanwhile…

    “Mr Ecclestone wants to double the amount of money which the Autodromo yearly deposits in his bank account, from current 11-12 to 20-22”

    Absolutely ridiculous. What is Bernie basing that increase on? Does he even live in the real world? I’m guessing not, and he’s just doubling it simply because he can, knowing someone else (Qatar) will pay it if Italy don’t.

    1. I’ll admit I thought “this is probably a replacement for Germany”. But why bother with a street race when Losail is already there? Fair enough, probably to distinguish itself from Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. Will we be left with Hockenheim and Monza rotating as a European GP?

  3. That Euro GP from 2003 really brings back the memories. Kimi used to be so inspiring. I can’t believe I rooted for him over Alonso back in 2005.
    On a slightly different subject, Schumacher always knew how to bin it when under pressure. Now that I think of it, he never had a clean race when championship went down the wire.

    1. How come you can’t believe you rooted for Raikkonen in 2005? To be fair, Raikkonen was usually a lot faster than Alonso if my memory serves me right, his car just exploded before finishing 4 laps in a row.

      1. I mean, considering where they are now and what I think of each of them today. Kimi was really great in those three years (2003, 4, 5), but after that he really became invisible. Even 2007 wasn’t too convincing.
        After 2005, Alonso really stepped up. His 2006 was an absolute masterclass, while Kimi went down fast. He looked a bit rejuvenated in 2012 and 13, but never like THE best one. That title was always reserved for Alonso and Hamilton, and rightly so.

        1. I have some theories about Kimi’s varying form. Of course, there’s his need for a balanced car with a grippy front end. He also struggles with a car that has understeer. The 2014 Ferrari was probably the prime example of this. The 2008 Ferrari was pretty understeery as well.

          I believe there is also another significant factor in his performances: tyres. In 2013, after the tyres were changed following Silverstone, there was a shift of power from Raikkonen to Grosjean. Look at this:
          Before the tyres changed to a harder construction, Grosjean had only beaten Kimi 3 times in the 29 races they had been teammates for. After the tyres changed, Grosjean beat Kimi 4-2 in a two-car finish over the remaining 8 races (before Kimi sat out the final 2 due to back surgery/not being paid/whatever it was).

          Recently, Kimi himself has said much the same thing regarding his struggles – that he requires bite from the front tyres as well as front-end grip:

          Also, I noticed one very interesting thing about Kimi’s performances. Many say that Kimi’s best years were his early and McLaren years. This correlates with the tyre war: Kimi entered F1 in 2001, and left McLaren at the end of the 2006 season. The tyre war began in 2001, and ended at the end of the 2006 season, with a single-make tyre formula beginning in 2007. Ferrari’s car in 2007 was if anything faster than the McLaren, but Kimi struggled to adapt to the tyres in the first half of the season. In 2008 things got worse as, although the car was again the fastest in the field, it was understeery as well. While Massa could handle the understeer, it ruined Kimi’s driving style. For further evidence of how Raikkonen was limited by his tyres, look at the fastest laps: Kimi claimed 10 of the 18 fastest laps in 2008 (a joint-record with Schumacher in 2004). His driving style meant he had trouble heating up the tyres quickly, and so he was outperformed by Massa in qualifying (Massa had 6 poles, Kimi 3). However, once he got the tyres heated up later in the race, he was capable of going much faster. This suggests that his performance was limited by the tyres.

          1. @polo But the argument that the only reason Grosjean beat Kimi due to the change in the tyre construction midway through 2013 is illogical; For all we know, the only reason Kimi beat Grosjean was because Grosjean didn’t like the pre-Hungary tyre construction. And I’m sure that even with a car that is to his liking, Kimi wouldn’t reach the heights of his 2003 or 2005 season. According to Mark Hughes, after Alonso joined McLaren in 2007, McLaren were able to compare the data between Alonso and Raikkonen, and came to the conclusion that they had similar speed, Raikkonen possibly very marginally quicker, but Alonso was much more adaptable and consistent.

          2. @mashiat2 It’s entirely reasonable to say that Grosjean was also hampered by the soft tyres, looking at his form on the harder compounds. I’m sure Grosjean would have done well in the ‘single tyre’ era 2005, probably all Bridgestones as well, although entering mid-season almost ended his career. That sounds like an accurate assessment of both Kimi and Alonso – and it’s probable Kimi was at his best speed around 2004-5. But Alonso has held such a high level for over ten years, with the odd trough (2007), like Hamilton (2011). This marks them out as potential all-time greats.

          3. Thank you @polo, thank you

            It’s a bit sad though, soon we’ll have to talk to the younger fans and tell ’em how Raikkonen used to be great.

          4. @mashiat2 @fastiesty That’s a very interesting point, it’s very possible (likely even) that Grosjean was hampered by the soft tyres and/or performed better on hard tyres. Though my main point is that Kimi performs better on softer/grippier tyres – he has actually admitted that himself.

            I actually just remembered something else that has factored into Kimi’s form in the past: front suspension. In 2005, if I remember correctly, McLaren built Raikkonen about 5 different front suspension systems (completely different from Montoya’s front suspension) so that he could have the front-end he wanted. At Ferrari in 2008, around mid-season Ferrari updated the suspension to a new one that Kimi disliked, and his form suffered. Although I know that pull-rod suspension in reality only makes a small difference, it’s possible that the 2014 Ferrari had a front suspension system that Kimi disliked as well.

  4. “I can promise you one thing with Fernando – he never even asked (for number one status). In fact the opposite. Total opposite.”

    So he asked for number two status?

    1. :D

      That’s the same thought that occurred to me first, but I’m sure he just asked *not* to have #1 status…

    2. I’m pretty sure that he meant equal status. I’m sure though this should only concern car, engine spec and updates.

    3. ColdFly F1 (@)
      9th February 2015, 2:55

      Sorry @george, you missed that one.
      Alonso never asked (for number one status) – he insisted on it.
      (sarcastic play of words by me – nothing more)

      1. Sounds more like the truth than what Ron said.

      2. @coldfly
        Ah, very good :)

    4. ha ha , the section is named “links” for a reason :) , he asked for equality , just saying.

  5. Good old Bernie the master of mutually assured destruction, it’s patently obvious that he cares nothing for F1 beyond bringing in the dollars in the short term.

    Pun unintended but accurate in more ways than one.

    1. @hohum Exactly, we essentially had a Cuban Missile Crisis over the British Grand Prix in 2009, and yet the race remains at Silverstone. That said, the nuclear deterrent didn’t stop Bernie killing the San Marino Grand Prix in 2007, and there is nothing to stop Bernie going rogue and detonating the Italian race too.

      Shame Robert McNamara is dead, he would have sorted all this out…

  6. “Qatar race possible in next two years • Italian Grand Prix under pressure”

    Everything wrong with F1 summed up in two headlines.

    1. We can sum that up in one word though:

      “Qatar race possible in next two years • Italian Grand Prix under pressure”

      1. @strontium Painfully unfunny.

  7. Bernie is basically just blackmailing Italy into the government paying to keep the race. F1 gives Ferrari gratuity payments above and beyond their results because the Ferrari brand is critical to F1. Ferrari loves their home race, so they could simply demand that Monza stays. What could Bernie do? Let Ferrari walk?

    1. Ferrari won’t demand Monza stays on the calendar as they will want the GP at Mugello if Monza fails, as the just happen to own it, so one would imagine they will get very favourable terms from Bernie on race fees.

      1. I guess that’s true in a way, and while losing Monza would be criminal, I’d still rather see team hosted tracks like the Red Bull Ring and Mugello than Qatar and Azerbaijan.

      2. I thought Mugello wasn’t compliant with the FIAs safety standards for F1 tracks? Don’t know where I read that, and haven’t checked to see if it’s true, but my recollection is that something to do with runoff, emergency vehicle access, and tree locations played their part.

        1. You’re right, there is almost no runoff area at Mugello (no tarmac, just gravel). But they still went there for testing in 2012, so it can’t be that bad.

          It’s a fascinating circuit with lots of highspeed-turns.
          Maybe Monza and Mugello could host the Italian GP alternating, just like Nürburgring and Hockenheim did.

        2. Mugello has the FIA’s ‘F1-T’ level certification which means it can holding F1 tests but not races. Grand Prix tracks require the highest ‘F1’ level.

  8. ColdFly F1 (@)
    9th February 2015, 3:03

    We should be fair to Qatar though.
    F1 is probably the only major sport event they can get without being accused of bribery.

    There is no bribery in F1 as payments to the decision makers is all contractual and the true DNA of the sport.

    1. @coldfly True, just like in the USA although there is is called lobbying.

  9. Just rename the damn thing to ‘Formula Middle-East’.

    1. @sushant008 For just having 2 (possibly 3) races in the middle east? You must be out of your mind.

      1. Having so many races in the middle east is a little like having races in England, Scotland and Wales though.

        1. By which I mean geographically unnecessary.

          1. ColdFly F1 (@)
            9th February 2015, 12:50

            @danbrown180 – Actually geographically the Middle East is 30% bigger in size than Europe!

            You probably should have said so many races in ‘Eastern Arabia’.

      2. @mashiat2 Bahrain, Abu-Dhabi, Azerbaijan (technically it’s not in the middle east but it is right next to Iran, and Wikipedia says Azerbaijan is occasionally included in Middle East) and now Qatar. So count it correctly mate.
        Also that’s the same number of races that North America(3), South America(1) and Africa(0) has combined! Just count the number of fans in these 3 continents. Justifies my reaction.

        1. @sushant800 I don’t see the justification when those tracks make up 19% of the calendar (including Qatar), and that’s being generous by including Azerbaijan in the Middle East as well.

      3. @mashiat2 I think it might have been a joke

    2. Formula Europe would be much better right?

  10. Many rich Middle-Eastern governments are willing to pay huge amounts to subsidise a circuit in their country so that they can hold an F1 race to raise their country’s worldwide profile. The large majority of European venues cannot compete with this as they are no longer subsidised by their governments. It just seems like Bernie wants the race calendar to be decided by whoever hands him the biggest bag of money, and doesn’t care about venues that are unable to match the payments of Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Azerbaijan, etc.

    1. The high prices Bernie is demanding of venues these days (plus the fact that the commercial rights holder siphons a significant amount of their GP weekend profits) is the reason why ticket prices are so ridiculously high these days – the venues need to put them that high to be able to afford hosting the race. Is it any wonder why we are talking about declining attendance figures in places like Germany and Italy when prices are over 200-300 euros? MotoGP prices are only 10% of that.
      It’s because of this that we are at risk of losing such classic venues as Monza, Hockenheim and Spa.

      1. @polo Exactly this. I just bought a Sunday ticket for the WEC at Silverstone – £35. The Cheapest Sunday ticket for the GP is a whopping £155!! (According to Silverstone’s website). I also go to Le Mans every year, and my camping and general admission ticket is around £90, and that’s for 5 days!! F1 needs to take a look at itself and ask, “Are we really worth 4x as much as the WEC?”. The answer in my opinion is no. I will happily continue to pay my sky subscription to watch it on the TV (I get sky for many other reasons than F1, plus I think their coverage is brilliant. Also if you work it out over 18 races, the testing notebooks, F1 show etc, AND take into consideration all the other sports you get to watch it is actually good value for money) but I won’t be paying £155 for an afternoons racing. Bernie and CVC need to realise that the situation will only get worse by charging venues more money.

  11. The amount of negativity surrounding F1 is really frustrating.
    Saying that, how about some coverage or a weekly round-up on WEC a bit, @keithcollantine? There seems to be a lot of goodwill towards this series among us f1fanatics. This site does offer discussions & insights which are unique.

    1. +1 – although the guy must be pretty busy. Don’t know how he even manages what he currently posts!

  12. Hopefully WEC will come along and pick up some contracts with the older circuits. Today’s WEC story about Nissan and the Superbowl ad shows how WEC is powering ahead and engaging with fans.

    Let F1 have it’s oil rich friends buy races… and you will see more and more fans leaving the sport. Combined with the strict design regulations resulting in little perceived innovation, F1 continues to find new ways to drive the fans away.

    1. To be fair, the WEC has its fair share of Tilkedromes. In fact, most forms of international motorsport have succumbed to the allure of flat, bland tracks funded by corrupt, oil-rich politicians. MotoGP has held its season opener at Losail for a while now. Perhaps most criminal of all, the WTCC will hold its 2015 season finale in Qatar rather than Macau. Even V8 Supercars has held races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. And you can be certain that if IndyCar ever expands outside the Americas, the first place it will visit will be Dubai.
      Motorsport, like any other sport, is run like a business these days. The races will be held at tracks which do the best job of lining the pockets of those in charge, and that’s all that matters.


      1. The? I didn’t mean to write that…

  13. Kimi was such a beast back in the days of McLaren and Michelin. I doubt he’ll ever be able to find that form again in his career.

    1. indeed!

  14. It is interesting that Bernie provides a considerable cash bonus to those teams who have been in F1 for many years, but does not extend this generosity to circuits with the same history. In fact it seems to be a hindrance to hold such a status.

    1. I think that’s because its easy to convince somebody to build a new F1 track, but very few are dumb enough to start a new F1 team.

    2. @Covertgiblets: no, you’re missing the point a bit… It’s not a hindrance to hold historical status, it’s just almost irrelevant. Bernie gets 10M from Monza? Fine. Bernie gets 30M from Qatar? Better.

    3. Well, the two circuits with special deals are Monaco (Free) and Monza (10m). He can’t really get rid of these yet, as they are seen as integral to F1 and Ferrari. But he can try to lobby Monza to pay a bit more, as a Ferrari track probably has some options (Monza, Imola, Mugello), although the same might not be possible with Monaco. It’s arguable (as Keith has done) that Monaco should pay up a bit (considering it’s a massive Tax Haven).

  15. So Alonso did the opposite of asking for number 1 status? The TOTAL opposite?

    I’ll assume in Ron speak that means he told them he was having number one status with Honda backing him up.

    I’m expecting a season like 2012 for McLaren. Button will be up and down in form which in recent seasons we’ve blamed on the car, Alonso will consistently be at the peak the car can achieve. On his day Button will really push Alonso when he’s in the zone but he’s always been prone to dips in form and has been able to blame the car the last couple of years while having team mates who aren’t in the elite.

    1. Would have to agree with your prediction. I expect Button to match Alonso at the maximum of 4 to 5 races in the season. The rest of the time he will be getting convincingly destroyed because he ‘can’t find any grip’ , ‘suffers from massive understeer’ , ‘can’t find the right balance’. .. or all the various other excuses he just makes for being slow

      1. Given that Button was certainly not “convincingly destroyed” by Hamilton in their three years together I don’t see any reason to suspect he will suffer that fate at the hands of Alonso.

        1. Well.. Lets just see about that

          I’d take any bets if you think Button will reach 60% or higher of Alonso’s points total

  16. Who needs the Italian and German Grand Prix when we’ve got Qatar waiting in the wings!

  17. Even though a race in Qatar means I will likely have one more chance to watch F1 live in the future, I would rather have 1 race at any of Monza, Hockenheim or the Nurburgring than have a season full of races in the Middle East.

  18. OTT: Did anyone happened to notice ricciardo’s lap time in Top Gear? That was a splendid lap.

    1. different day…different conditions…

      1. Is that being used as an excuse cos Riccy beat Lulus’ time by a second lol

  19. I hope Monza goes, because F1 needs to die and be replaced by something young and healthy. At the moment F1 resembles Bernie’s naked body.

  20. It’s Bernie’s job to find and collect money, no matter what. That’s the problem really. F1 is run like a business. It shouldn’t be, because like in this case, money will always come before heritage. If only F1 was run by a small group of real motorsport enthusiasts, problems could be solved and good (for the sport) decisions could be made.

    1. Who out of all participants of F1 bar spectators would want F1 to not be run like a business?

      1. @ivan-vinitskyy, My point is that the people with power shouldn’t have making money their main target; it should be doing what is right for the sport. The teams, broadcasters, sponsors etc can all run their businesses like normal, but should have minimal power because they only act on self interest.

  21. Just maybe in a couple of years more half the races will be in Middle East? It’s not impossible.

  22. Woop! Glad you liked the caption, Keith!

  23. Apparently this is what Bernie proposed in the strategic working group to fill up the grids (AMuS in German)
    – Kolles would build a chassis based on the 2013 Red Bull with engines Briatore would have Mechachrome build 2013 spec V8s.
    Then they would tune them down a bit to make sure they would not be leading the field too much.

    Good to see some ideas are too stupid to get support even in this group (Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren were against AMuS mentions)

  24. Ooh Qatar … I can hardly wait … !

  25. I’m not glad to this. We need more European Grand Prix.

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