Formula 1 is set to head to the Gulf nation of Qatar in the next two years according to FIA vice-president Nasser bin Khalifa al-Attiyah.
Reports have been circulating for some time suggesting that Qatar could join the F1 calendar in the near future with a race at the new city of Lusail, which is being built ahead of the nation’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
However, in an interview with Agence France-Presse, Al-Attiyah said that a deal to host a grand prix was close to being signed once a few minor details are ironed out.
“We are about to sign contracts to organize a Formula 1 race,” he said. “We have completed all the steps and there are only a few details before the official signature.”
Al-Attiyah also confirmed to AFP that arrangements are being made to host the first race in either 2016 or 2017, meaning that the calendar could swell to an unprecedented 22 races for next season.
The return of the Mexican Grand Prix for 2015 has taken the schedule up to 20 grands prix, whilst the Grand Prix of Europe will be held in Azerbaijan in 2016.
However, with more and more races coming under threat such as the German Grand Prix, it could well be that room is made to keep the calendar at a more manageable total.
Qatar is enjoying an increased presence within the motorsport world, having hosted the opening round of the Moto GP championship since 2007, as well as the 2014 FIA prize giving and end of year gala.