Formula One: Qatar Set to Fill the Russian Void & Reinstate a 23-Race Season

F1 Betting Blog - Pre-season F1 News

Rumours suggest Formula 1 has reached a deal with Qatar to stage a race on September 25th filling the gap left in the 2022 calendar by the cancelled Russian Grand Prix.

Qatar’s Losail Circuit in Doha staged its first Formula 1 race in 2021. Before this debut, the track was primarily known for MotoGP.

The country was originally set to sit out Formula 1 hosting duties in 2022 allowing it to concentrate on staging the World Cup which begins on November 21st.

Formula 1 management already has a ten-year Grand Prix deal signed with Qatar, it starts in 2023. However, it is believed a new venue will be constructed to facilitate the race for its decade long tenure.

The Sport is Back up to Speed

Should Qatar be announced as a replacement for Russia, the 2022 Formula 1 calendar will return to its original 23 races.

This also means teams can look forward to logistical nightmares with back-to-back races in Qatar, Singapore and, another seven days later, Japan.

September 2019 was the last time Singapore staged a Formula 1 race. Japan last raced in October 2019. The last and only Qatar race was in November 2021. It was won by Lewis Hamilton from pole position. On the day Max Verstappen cut through the field to finish second after qualifying in seventh.

Hamilton is Off the Pace

After three 2022 races, Lewis Hamilton is only fifth in the Drivers’ Championship standings with 28 points. Only once during his 16-year career – 2009 – has the Brit garnered fewer points from his opening three races.

However, Mercedes had a much better outcome in the most recent race in Australia last week with Hamilton finishing in P5 and his teammate George Russell finishing in P4.

The new rear wing did give some improved performance in Melbourne last weekend,  but the bookmakers still believe his Mercedes will struggle and make Hamilton a 10/1 chance to win that historic eighth world title.

* F1 odds correct at time of publication. Subject to changes.