WEC Prologue could be postponed amid freight delays

The Losail International Circuit in Doha is due to host the official pre-season test of 2024 on 24-25 February, a week before the opening round of the year on 2 March.

However, the two-day test may have to be pushed back as some teams wait for their cars and equipment to arrive via sea route.

In a statement issued by WEC, the series revealed that it is expecting delays of up to 48 hours in getting all shipping containers to Qatar. It added that the schedule for Prologue could be altered depending upon how the situation unfolds on Thursday and Friday.

“Due to ongoing disruption to the shipping route in the Red Sea, a number of shipping containers were delayed on their way to Qatar for the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship,” the statement read.

“The championship is expecting a 24 – 48 hour delay to some of the freight arriving at the circuit and keeping teams updated regularly on the progress. The schedule of the Prologue, therefore, may change and a decision is expected shortly.”

Pitlane atmosphere

Pitlane atmosphere

Photo by: Paolo Belletti

Similar shipping delays had previously forced the organiser of Dubai 24 Hours to change the date of its 2024 event which was originally scheduled for 13-14 January. A 14-day delay ended up putting it on the same weekend as the Daytona 24 Hours, the opening round of the IMSA SportsCar Championship.

Rescheduling the Prologue will be a relatively easier task, as the WEC paddock is supposed to stay in Qatar for the opening round of the season the following week.

Shipping cargo via the Red Sea has become both a costly and problematic affair after the Houthi military organisation began attacking container shippers in the region in November last year.

This has caused severe disruption to global trade, with a noticeable fall in traffic passing through the Suez Canal. 

The Red Sea connects the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal, forming one of the most important waterways in the world and bridging the distance between Europe and Asia. 

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