The Lusail International Circuit has overhauled its facilities and safety measures ahead of the return of the Qatar Grand Prix.
It will be the first race on a long-term contract after the inaugural race in 2021 before a year off due to the FIFA World Cup in 2022, with organisers expecting a large number of fans over the October 6th-8th weekend.
Capacity in the grandstands has been increased to 40,000 with parking infrastructure also upgraded, with larger fan zone and VIP areas, including the F1 Paddock Club.
In addition, paddock facilities have been upgraded, including new media and medical centres, pit-buildings and garages.
There are now 50 pit boxes at the track, which organisers say makes the circuit the one with the most of any track on the calendar, with local roads and intersections also being improved to ease access for personnel and fans.
“This stunning and extensive remodelling is the product of months of hard work, ambition, and imagination, and is a fitting introduction to what promises to be a thrilling weekend of motorsports," Abdulrahman bin Abdullatif Al Mannai, President of Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation and Lusail International Circuit, said.
"Our long-term agreement with F1 marks a significant advancement for Qatar, which is rapidly gaining a reputation as a renowned host for some of the world’s most prestigious sporting events, that are sure to serve fans on all fronts."
Safety enhancements made in Qatar
New debris fences by Swiss company Geobrugg have also been installed at over 2.5 kilometres of the circuit.
A new six-metre debris fence post spacing solution was selected, which complies with FIA Grade 1 Circuit Safety standards and provides spectators with enhanced views of the track.
“We are expecting large number of fans to attend Qatar GP, that said spectator safety is of paramount importance to us. We have ensured to incorporate highest levels of safety measures on the track,” said Amro Al Hamad, CEO of Lusail International Circuit and Executive Director of Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation.
Light panels and marshal posts have also been upgraded, with all of the enhancements produced in close co-ordination with both the FIA and motorcycle governing body FIM, to ensure the track is suitable for both disciplines of racing.
Track simulations were completed to ahead of construction to ensure the circuit continued to meet the safety standards of both governing bodies.
The circuit’s current deal with MotoGP extends until 2031 and it is expanding its horizons with the addition of the World Endurance Championship, hosting its season opener from next year.
"We’re incredibly proud to add the Lusail International Circuit to the growing list of Grand Prix venues that are adopting our debris fence solutions," Jochen Braunwarth, Director Motorsport Solutions, Geobrugg said.
"As a venue, Lusail is going from strength to strength, adding a combination of car and bike racing to its portfolio, so it was vital the circuit had the best fencing safety."