After much speculation about the fate of the Formula One (F1) race in Malaysia, now it’s been confirmed that 2018 will be the final year for the country to host an F1 race. This follows confirmation from Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz, citing that it’s less attractive to the crowd and more importantly, costs too much to host.
Nazri said that the government spends about RM300mil a year to host the F1 race in Sepang but with little returns. Factoring the declining spectatorship and the lack of local motorsport talent, it’s time for the country to hit the brakes on F1, therefore the current F1 contract which ends in 2018 will not be renewed.
On the contrary, the government remains supportive with two wheels racing, particularly MotoGP. This year, the MotoGP round in Sepang was the best-attended race event with a sellout crowd of over 100k fans. Meanwhile in F1, this year it recorded its lowest attendance and television ratings in the event’s history.
The future of F1 in this region is looking bleak following F1 supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, who hinted that Singapore could host its final race by 2017. Sepang circuit first hosted its F1 race in 1999, and by 2018 it will be two decades for the circuit to host the pinnacle of motorsports in our country.