KUALA LUMPUR — April 7, 2017: This year’s F1 race at the Sepang International Circuit will be Malaysia’s last after the government decided to terminate the contract starting next year.
The present contract that was extended in 2015 is to run out next year.
In announcing the termination in a statement today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the contract had to be terminated following sharp decreasing returns compared to the organising cost.
“The decision was made after taking into consideration the reports and views of the SIC on the financial impact of the race on all parties.
“The government had to foot very high organising cost every year while the returns were diminishing in terms of
spectators, visitors and foreign tourist arrivals in the last few years,” said the statement.
Najib said that initially the race helped to promote the country as a destination of world standard sporting event apart from promoting the country as a destination of choice by global tourists.
“In 1999, only 16 countries hosted the prestigious race including two Asian countries but today, it has risen to 21 countries with six Asian countries, resulting in a fall in returns to the organiser and host country,” he said.
However the government will use funds for other races such as MotoGP and and go-kart, build special circuits in Sungai Petani, upgrade facilities in SIC and assist professional drivers to be become F1 drivers.
National oil company Petronas will continue to sponsor team Mercedes AMG Petronas in F1 as part of its marketing strategy. — Bernama