Malaysia to stop hosting race after 2018

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton drives his car during the first free practice session of the Formula One Malaysia Grand Prix in Sepang.
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton drives his car during the first free practice session of the Formula One Malaysia Grand Prix in Sepang.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia will stop hosting the Formula One Grand Prix race after its contract ends in 2018, its Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz said yesterday.

He told reporters that the F1 races had become too expensive to host and were no longer attractive.

"All over the world, even in Singapore, the attendance (for F1 races) has gone down. I don't think there is anywhere in the world (where) the number of spectators for F1 has increased," Datuk Seri Nazri told reporters yesterday.

"So I think that for long-term interest, it is the right thing to do."

He said Malaysia spends about RM300 million (S$97 million) a year to organise the F1 race at the Sepang circuit, but the returns have not been up to par.

Mr Nazri, however, said the Motorcycle Grand Prix has seen an increase in followers.

He added that Malaysia has not produced enough F1 drivers since it began hosting the race in 1999.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 22, 2016, with the headline 'Malaysia to stop hosting race after 2018'. Print Edition | Subscribe