Originally designed to host motorbike racing, the Lusail International Circuit is poised to become a regular fixture on the calendar after Formula 1 penned a 10-year agreement to stage the Qatar Grand Prix at the venue.
The decade-long partnership starts in 2023 and will see F1 return to Qatar for only the second time in its history for a night race this season.
The Middle Eastern nation stepped in at late notice to fill a hole on the calendar in 2021 but declined to host a race in 2022 due to its World Cup preparations.
Teams complained of cramped garages and underwhelming facilities when they visited two years ago, but are set to have a very different experience upon their return.
The only part of Lusail which remains untouched is the floodlit track layout, which won over the drivers with its collection of medium and high speed corners.
Fans are likely to be a little less enthusiastic due to a lack of overtaking spots and amid ongoing rumours of moving the Qatar Grand Prix to the streets of Doha in the future, Lusail still has work to do to win over Formula 1.
Where is Lusail International Circuit?
Situated on the outskirts of the city of Lusail, which is 14 miles north of the capital Doha, lies the Lusail International Circuit, which has a modest capacity of 52,000.
Located within sight of the Persian Gulf, the track is largely surrounded by desert, with artificial grass put in place to try to prevent sand from blowing onto the track.
When was Lusail International Circuit first built?
The circuit took just over a year to build at a cost of $58million and was finished in time to host Qatar’s first-ever MotoGP race in 2004.
In 2007, permanent outdoor lighting was added and in 2008, Lusail staged the first night race in MotoGP history. The lights have been upgraded this year in preparation for Formula 1’s return, along with the capacity of the circuit, which stood at 8,000 when it first opened.
How long is Lusail International Circuit?
A lap of the Lusail International Circuit measures 5.418km, making it mid-range in terms of length for an F1 track.
Over one kilometre of the circuit is made up of the start/finish straight, which is the only DRS zone and one of few overtaking places at Lusail.
The rest of the track is made up of a mix of medium to high speed corners, and the layout of the high-speed circuit was credited by the drivers for being a venue where they can show off the cars to their full potential.
When did Lusail International Circuit first host an F1 race?
A Qatar Grand Prix was announced late in the season in 2021, filling a spot left by the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix, and was held on 21st November.
While drivers enjoyed the track, teams were not overly impressed with the facilities, many of them either not built to accommodate an F1 car or hastily thrown together temporary structures.
Two years on and Qatari officials have pledged the teams will find the venue is now a state-of-the-art facility having splashed the cash to bring the pits, paddock, media centre and race control up to standard, while relaying the track surface.
Who has won the most F1 races at Lusail International Circuit?
Lewis Hamilton has the honour of being the only driver to win an F1 race at the Lusail International Circuit after a dominant victory in 2021.
The Mercedes driver took pole position in qualifying and then lead for every lap of the race, taking the chequered flag ahead of his world title rival Max Verstappen, with Fernando Alonso completing the podium.
What is the F1 lap record at Lusail International Circuit?
While Formula 1 don’t list an official lap record on their website, Verstappen clocked the fastest lap of the race in the only grand prix staged in Lusail, going round in a time of 1:23.196.
Does Lusail International Circuit host any other events?
Plenty of different motorsport classes have visited Lusail, with MotoGP being the most prominent user of the circuit. They’ve held at least one round of the world championships at Lusail since 2004, while World Superbikes and the Motorcross World Championships have also staged two-wheeled events at the venue previously.
The World Endurance Championship are planning to stage a race at Lusail in 2024, while the Touring Cars held three races in Qatar between 2015 and 2017.
What is the weather like at Lusail International Circuit?
Being in the Middle East, hot and sunny conditions are the norm the majority of the year-round in Lusail.
In October, when the Qatar Grand Prix is due to be staged, the average temperatures hover around 30C during the day, but do fall quickly after sunset, making for cooler race conditions.