Future of Malaysian Grand Prix up in the air

Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

The future of the Malaysian Grand Prix is unclear, as it is thought the country should stop hosting the Formula 1 race and focus on MotoGP instead.

Since 1999, the Sepang International Circuit has been the home of the Grand Back but over the past couple of years, ticket sales have declined. The circuit has a capacity of 120,000 fans but this year only drew 45,000. This is a much lower figure that is expected to this weekend’s MotoGP event, which is expecting to be a sell-out.

The contract for Malaysia to host the Grand Prix expires at the end of 2018, a meeting between shareholders and the ministry of finance this week will decide the future of the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Chief Executive of the circuit Razlan Razali said F1 was no longer an exciting sport.

“Maybe it will do Malaysia good to take a break,” Razali was quoted as saying by Malaysia’s The New Strait Times. “I think the product [F1] is no longer exciting. It’s being dominated by one team.”

Malaysia’s minister of youth and sports Khairy Jamaluddin believes Malaysia should give up the F1 race and focus on MotoGP instead, which brings a sellout event.

“I think we should stop hosting the F1. At least for a while. Cost too high, returns limited,” Jamaluddin said on Twitter. “When we first hosted the F1 it was a big deal.

“First in Asia outside Japan. Now so many venues. No first mover advantage. Not a novelty. For the record I still think we should host MotoGP. 1) Cheaper fee and cost, 2) Sellout crowd, 3) We have riders in Moto2 and 3.”