Qatar is expecting a capacity crowd for next month's inaugural Formula One grand prix after joining the circuit as a last-minute replacement.

The resource-rich state will become the Gulf's latest F1 host after taking the place of the Australian Grand Prix, which was postponed and then cancelled over coronavirus restrictions.

By a "fortunate coincidence" the race falls on 21 November, exactly a year before the country holds the opening game of the 2022 World Cup, said Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation president Abdulrahman Al Mannai.

"We're trying to maximise the occasion (and) we're trying to add more to the Formula One event," Mannai said in an interview.

"I think we will see some nice surprises during the weekend of the Formula One," he added, without elaborating.

Qatar has been the target of protests by several national football teams over its treatment of foreign workers ahead of the World Cup, as part of a wave of social activism by athletes.

But Formula One drivers will be free to "speak their minds" on controversial issues, Mannai said.

"We are happy to support the drivers to speak their minds on their platforms," he said. "We don't see it as an issue in Qatar because they're free to say whatever they want to say."

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton is a prominent voice in the Black Lives Matter movement and four-time title-winner Sebastian Vettel is another driver to champion social issues.

The night event at the Losail International Circuit will be the first of three Gulf races to close the season, preceding Saudi Arabia's debut Grand Prix and the year's finale at Abu Dhabi. Bahrain is also an F1 host.