Signs of Time: Malaysia Will End up F1 Race in 2018

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - MARCH 25: Fernando Alonso of Spain and Ferrari drives on his way to winning the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at the Sepang Circuit on March 25, 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

The prestigious F1 Grand Prix that Malaysia was hosting will end up in 2018 due to declining revenues and attendance after 19 years. It shows also that Malaysia budget is facing troubles due to declining oil and gas revenues…

Malaysia confirmed on April 7 that it will end its contract to host the Formula One Grand Prix race from 2018 due to declining sales. The decision was made after taking into consideration the reports and views of Sepang International Circuit (SIC) on the financial impact of F1 race on all interested parties.

Malaysia’s tourism minister had said in November that the country will stop hosting the racing championships after the current agreement expires in 2018. “The Cabinet has agreed to end the contract for hosting the Formula One race starting 2018. The government had to foot very high organising cost every year while the returns from organising the championship were diminishing in terms of spectators, visitors and foreign tourist arrivals in the last few years,” Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a statement.

State oil and gas firm Petronas is the title sponsor for the F1 race in Kuala Lumpur. The company has been hit hard in recent times by tumbling oil prices. Petronas, however, will continue to sponsor the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team as part of its marketing strategy, Najib said.
Najib who is also Finance Minister said initially the F1 race had 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.

Najib said the discontinuation of the race would enable the government to raise funding for the development of talents, infrastructure, transfer of skills and knowledge of motor sports.

He said the government would be utilising the available funds for other races such as MotoGP and and Go-kart; build special circuits in Sungai Petani, Kedah; upgrade facilities in SIC and assist professional drivers to be become F1 drivers.

Meanwhile, the prime minister said Petronas would continue to sponsor team Mercedes AMG Petronas in F1 as the company’s marketing strategy.

“I also wish to express my appreciation to FOM for its understanding and agreement that the 2017 F1 in Sepang will be the last F1 race in the circuit,” said malaysia Prime Minister.

The Malaysian Grand Prix was last held in October 2016 and will next be held in September this year.

(Sources: Bernama and Reuters)