Malaysia won't renew contract for Formula One after 2018, says Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's German driver Nico Rosberg driving his car during the first free practice session of the Formula One Malaysia Grand Prix in Sepang on Sept 30, 2016.
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's German driver Nico Rosberg driving his car during the first free practice session of the Formula One Malaysia Grand Prix in Sepang on Sept 30, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR - Sepang will cease to be one of the circuits on the Formula One (F1) Grand Prix annual calendar from 2018, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz confirmed on Monday (Nov 21).

Mr Nazri said that once the current agreement between Formula One and Malaysia expires in 2018, it will not be renewed, reported the Malay Mail Online.

"The current agreement is from 2016 to 2018. So once that ends, there will be no more (F1 in Malaysia)," Mr Nazri told reporters at Parliament.

In this regard, Mr Nazri said he agreed with Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who had mooted dropping the motorsport event last month as it was proving to be a costly affair and was not bringing the necessary returns to the country.

"F1 attendance is dropping and there is less attraction now. We are spending RM300 million (S$96.72 million) a year (for the race)," said Mr Nazri, adding that Malaysia was not recouping the money it was spending to host the event.

Singapore is also mulling an exit from hosting the Grand Prix, according to Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone, who said the city would not extend the deal to host the race. Ticket sales for the Singapore race in September were at their lowest in nine years.