It’s time for the only standalone race of the second half of the season as we return to Qatar for the first time since 2021.
Fans of racing on two wheels will be no strangers to the Lusail International Circuit, which is located on the northern outskirts of the capital city of Doha — but the 5.38km venue will this weekend host an F1 World Championship race for just the second time.
It will also host the fourth of six F1 Sprint weekends in 2023, the first found this side of the summer break.
Continue reading to learn five more things you really should know ahead of this weekend.
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A new venue for some
Whilst this might be the second time we are getting set to race in Qatar, for our driver duo it is a different story.
Neither Alex Albon nor Logan Sargeant have taken to the Lusail International Circuit before, but they have both been getting laps in on the simulator back at Grove as per usual.
All of this will put extra focus on the one-and-only practice session of the weekend. Why only one?
As mentioned earlier, this weekend sees the return of F1 Sprint for the first time since Belgium.
Need a quick refresher on how a Sprint weekend works? We’ve got you!
Friday will consist of FP1 and Qualifying, but the former will be the only practice session of the weekend, whilst the latter will set the grid for Sunday’s full-length Grand Prix.
Sprint Saturday begins with a Sprint Shootout. A shortened and more restrictive qualifying session sets the grid for the Sprint race later on that day.
The Sprint is 100km of racing where the drivers know that any mistakes made will not compromise the rest of their weekend, as the starting order for Sunday’s Grand Prix was already set.
Points are on offer for the top eight finishers, with P1 getting eight points and P8 picking up one.
We’re yet to pick up a point in an F1 Sprint, will that change this weekend? Join us for exclusive live coverage on our official app.
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Plenty has changed since we debuted at Lusail two years ago. The high-speed, sweeping 16-turn layout is the same, albeit it has undergone resurfacing.
Capacity at the venue has soared from 8,000 in 2021 to 40,000 this weekend, with new grandstands at Turn 2, Turn 3 and Turn 16.
The entire pit and paddock complex has also had a significant revamp, and this will be clear to see when you tune in across the weekend.
Less clear to the spectator will be the new state-of-the-art media and medical centres, ensuring Qatar is set to host Formula 1 Grands Prix for the next decade.
Win a pair of AA23 Classic Marina signed by Alex!
These are now completely sold out, but thanks to Albono, we’ve got one pair to giveaway… and they’re signed!
9 months ago
Now, we’re experts on all things four-wheels, but we can appreciate great sporting moments when they happen.
It’s been nine months since the 2022 FIFA World Cup final took place at the Lusail Stadium, just under 6 miles away from our destination this weekend.
Of course, it was Argentina who came out on top that night, winning on penalties against France after an epic 120 minutes.
It’s a night that our very own Argentine No10, Franco Colapinto, would rank as one of the greatest of his life. Just check out how he celebrated the victory on December 18 last year.
Bolder than Bold’s finale
It’s safe to say our fan-voted Gulf livery has been a real people-pleaser. But all good things must come to an end.
This weekend will be the third and final outing for Bolder than Bold, and it’s set to stand out once again under the lights.
If you’ve loved the livery, you’ll almost certainly enjoy the accompanying limited edition collection which will ensure you can keep the Gulf x Williams Racing flame shining bright into the closing stages of 2023 and beyond.
The prediction window for this Grand Prix has now closed.