Qatar is reportedly close to signing a contract to host a Formula One Grand Prix within the next two years, the president of the country's motor sport federation has told AFP.
Nasser bin Khalifa Al Attiyah was quoted as saying that the race would be held in 2016 or 2017.
"We are about to sign contracts to organise a Formula One race," Al Attiyah, who is also the vice-president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), told AFP. "We have completed all the steps and there are only a few details before the official signature."
Al Attiyah added that Qatar would offer the choice of two circuits at which to hold the race, either in Lusail, or a street course through the capital Doha.
The comments come just weeks after Qatar’s chances of hosting a Formula One race appeared to be fading after Bahrain’s F1 CEO said he wasn’t in favour of the Middle East having another race.
F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, speaking in December, said Qatar would be in position to host a future F1 Grand Prix if Bahrain gave it the go-ahead. He said a handshake agreement was made ten years ago that any future races in the Middle East would first have to get approval from Bahrain, who hosted the first race in the region back in 2004.
Abu Dhabi hosted its first race in 2009, but only after it received permission to do so from Bahrain, according to Ecclestone.
Qatar already has a round of the MotoGP world championship at the Losail circuit near Doha and has an impressive list of sporting events in the pipeline.
The Gulf state will host the 2019 world athletics championships and the FIFA World Cup the following year and is seen as a potential bidder for the 2024 Summer Olympics.
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