KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — Malaysia will no longer host the Formula One Grand Prix race in Sepang once the current agreement expires in 2018, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz confirmed today.
Nazri said he agrees with Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin who had mulled dropping the motorsport event last month, saying that hosting the race is proving to be a costly affair and is not bringing the necessary returns to the country.
“The current agreement is from 2016 to 2018. So once that ends, there will be no more [F1 in Malaysia],” Nazri told reporters at Parliament today.
“F1 attendance is dropping and there is less attraction now. We are spending RM 300 million a year [for the race],” he added.
Despite that, the minister said Malaysia is not recouping the money it is spending to host the race.
“We are not even making back RM 300 million,” he added.
The F1 Malaysian Grand Prix has been a fixture in the motorsports calendar for 17 consecutive years since it started in 1999.
Nazri said that even the attendance in other F1 Grand Prix across the world has been dwindling.
“It’s a different story for MotoGP, because the interest in it is still there. We will lose a lot tourism if MotoGP is stopped,” he said, referring to the Grand Prix motorcycle racing.
He also said that Malaysia’s failure to contribute enough local drivers who eventually picked up F1 also contributed to dwindling interests.