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First time in Losail

Losail 17 novembre 2021

The final triple-header of the season ends at what is a brand new venue for Formula 1. After Mexico and Brazil, Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow now heads for Qatar, on the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, also bordering Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf. It will be the first time a Grand Prix has been held here. Qatar covers an area of just over 11,500 square kilometres, with a population of 2,800,000.

The track. The track only took a year to build, thanks to a workforce of around a thousand, at a cost of 58 million US dollars. It was inaugurated in 2004, staging that year’s MotoGP, the first such race to be held at night as from 2007, when a powerful 3600 floodlight system was installed. It is 5.380 kilometres in length, with the main straight measuring 1.068 kilometres. The track is surrounded by artificial grass to prevent sand blowing onto it from the surrounding desert. The first corner is very important, as it requires very heavy braking before a quick section where it is important to carry speed before braking for turn 4, which marks the start of a section with more corners. A hairpin at turn 6 is the slowest point on the track and leads into the most technical part of the circuit. The complex of corners 12, 13 and 14 is taken as one turn, similar to the famous turn 8 at Istanbul Park. Turn 15 is a fairly quick right-hander before the final braking point on the lap. Here there is more than one possible line, which means overtaking is a possibility.

Programme. The race will take place at night, so that all other sessions are later than usual in the day. The first free practice on Friday starts at 13.30 local (11.30 CET), with the second at 17 (15 CET). On Saturday, the final hour of preparation begins at 14 (12 CET) prior to qualifying at 17 (15 CET). The inaugural Qatar Grand Prix gets underway at 17 (15 CET).


Ferrari Stats

GP entered 1027

Seasons in F1 72

Debut Monaco 1950 (A. Ascari 2nd; R. Sommer 4th; L. Villoresi ret.)

Wins 238 (23.17%)

Pole positions 230 (22.39%)

Fastest laps 254 (24.73%)

Total podiums 777 (25.22%)

Ferrari Stats on debut at new venues

GP entered 67

Debut Monaco 1950 (A. Ascari 2nd; R. Sommer 4th; L. Villoresi ret.)

Wins 16 (23,88%)

Pole positions 19 (28,36%)

Fastest laps 16 (23,88%)

Total podiums 55 (27,36%)

Qatar Grand Prix: facts & figures 

1. The number of current Formula 1 drivers who have raced at the Losail circuit. In February 2009, Sergio Perez took part in the two legs of the GP2 Asia championship. The Mexican won Race 1 and came second in Race 2, which was won by Nico Hülkenberg.

3. The number of times Nasser Salih Nasser Abdullah Al-Attiyah from Doha has won the Dakar rally. Apart from victories in the desert classic in 2011, 2015 and 2019, Qatar’s most successful driver has also won the Italian Baja, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and the Baja Espana-Aragon in 2008. He has also competed in the World Rally Championship, taking three wins in WRC-2, as well as trying his hand at endurance racing. An all-round sportsman, Nasser also took bronze in Skeet Shooting at the 2012 London Olympics.

17. The furthest back on the grid from which a Formula 1 race has been won when the championship was making its debut at a new circuit. The record goes to John Watson in a McLaren on the sport’s first visit to the Detroit street circuit in 1982. As for the furthest back from where a driver made it to the podium, that honour went to Jacques Laffite and the Ligier who finished second, having started from 20th in Formula 1’s first visit to Adelaide in 1985.

18. The number of Motorcycle Grand Prix held in Qatar to date. The Losail circuit is mainly known for hosting the MotoGP, following its debut in 2004, since when it has been a regular fixture on the calendar.

36. The number of countries, including Qatar, that have hosted at least one Formula 1 Grand Prix. The record holders are Italy and Great Britain on 73 editions of their national race. At the other end of the scale, Morocco only ever hosted one race back in 1958. Worth noting that although races have gone by the name of San Marino and Luxembourg, neither of those states actually hosted the races, as they took place respectively in Imola in Italy and Nürburgring in Germany.


This week in our history

17/11. In 2011, the Young Driver Test took place at Abu Dhabi. Driving for Scuderia Ferrari was the first student at the Ferrari Driver Academy, Jules Bianchi. He did 106 laps of the Yas Marina circuit at the wheel of a Ferrari 150° Italia.

18/11. In 1918, Clemente Biondetti was born in Buddoso, Sardinia. His family originally came from Tuscany and Biondetti actually grew up in Florence where he started racing motorbikes. He soon developed a passion for cars and came into contact with Enzo Ferrari. He then took part in some races with the Scuderia, driving Alfa Romeos and was one of the first drivers to win races in cars built in Maranello. There were several noteworthy wins, including the 1948 Targa Florio in a 166 S entered by Scuderia Inter, which he shared with Frenchman Igor Troubetzkoy, as well as the Mille Miglia in a Scuderia Ferrari 166 C, sharing the car with fellow countryman Giuseppe Navone. He won both races again the following year with two other Italians, Carlo Benedetti and Ettore Salani respectively.

19/11. In 2010, the first Pirelli tyre test took place as the company returned to Formula 1 as sole supplier several years on from its last appearance in the category, back in 1991. For Scuderia Ferrari, Felipe Massa was at the wheel of an F10 with which he had contested the season just ended, on the first day of testing at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit.

20/11. In 2012, Scuderia Ferrari, represented by its driver Fernando Alonso had the honour of closing the day’s business at the New York Stock Exchange. It was part of an initiative set up by team partner Santander and the Spaniard ended the day on Wall Street by pressing the button that sets off the traditional end-of-trading bell.

21/11. In 2008, Valentino Rossi ended his third test at the wheel of a Ferrari. The multiple MotoGP world champion was driving an F2008 at Mugello and really enjoyed himself despite the track being wet. Over two days, he drove 56 laps, equivalent to 257 kilometres.