A little more than a year out from hosting the 2022 World Cup, Qatar had landed another major attraction in global sports. On Thursday, Formula 1 announced a 10-year deal with the country that starts in 2023.
Before the permanent contract begins in two years, Qatar will hold its first F1 race in November at the Losail International Circuit, which has hosted MotoGP races since 2004.
The country has already spent an estimated $300 billion in preparation for the World Cup, expanding its airport and building a new city, stadium, and metro station. It expects a $20 billion bump to its economy and more than 1.5 million visitors.
Qatar’s F1 commitment arrives in the wake of other several events being canceled.
- The November race will replace the Australian Grand Prix, which was canceled for the second year in a row earlier this year due to increased border controls.
- The Argentine Grand Prix was canceled earlier this month, following Singapore’s and Canada’s decisions to do the same.
Qatar will likely continue to face threats of boycotts as its events draw closer — 59% of U.S. fans say teams should boycott the World Cup due to human rights abuses in the country.