Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen came 1st and 2nd taking home the victory for Ferrari.
The initial news was that the Sepang International Circuit will not be renewing their deal with F1 after 2018, so we still had two more years to go. The contract they have signed is from 2016 until 2018.
However, a recent statement on Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Facebook page clarified and confirmed that 2017 will be the last year that Malaysia will host the event, after a 19-year run.
“The Cabinet has agreed to end the contract to host F1 races from 2018 as it is evident that the returns are diminishing compared to the costs of hosting it,” the prime minister said, according to the statement.
So what happens to the Sepang International Circuit from now on? And what about the funds allocated for F1? Where will it go?
During a live Instagram video on Monday (10th of April), Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was asked what would happen to the funds allocated for the F1 race — now that Malaysia is pulling the plug.
“That’s a very good question.” the minister commented. “It was a tough decision to pull the plug, but it was about time. The returns are not great, viewership has gone down.”
“The money allocated for F1 will be given to the drivers for private development. We will invest more in the drivers, like Jazemann, Akash Nandy, and more. We want to give more to the drivers.” the minister explained.
Investing more in young drivers is always a good thing — it will give them a chance to get world-class training and improve their skills as race car drivers.
Hopefully they can represent Malaysia and win in future F1 events!
The Sepang International Circuit will be teaming up with the Motorsports Association of Malaysia to host the country’s first ever SIC-MAM Malaysia Motorsports Awards.
The event will take place on February 13th at the Royale Chulan Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, and it will honour local motorsport icons in Malaysia. The awards will be graced by the presence of Alex Yoong, Jazeman Jaafar, Zulfahmi Khairuddin, Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah, Khairul Idham Pawi, Nabil Jeffri and Adam Norrodin.
Some of the awards to be given out tonight will be Rider of the Year, Team of the Year, Malaysia Motorsport People’s Choice Award, amongst others.
The ceremony will also be immortalising some of our local motorsport icons by inducting them into the Hall of Fame. Some of the nominees for the Hall of Fame include Karamjit Singh, Alex Young, Khairul Idham Pawi, Shahrol Yuzy and Ron Hogg.
Apart from the motorsport icons, SIC-MAM is also teaming up with the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM) to recognise outstanding writers in the motorsport industry. There will be two awards given out under the SIC-MAM-SAM team up, namely best journalist and best photographer.
“So many people have played their part in contributing to the development of motorsports in Malaysia, which is exciting, dynamic and inclusive – from competitors to teams, officials, journalists, clubs, corporations and even fans.” SIC’s CEO Datuk Razlan Razali said.
“We believe it’s about time that we recognised and honoured those who have contributed so much to the development of motorsports in Malaysia. SIC and MAM are proud and grateful to have this opportunity to bring this awards to life.”
After the decision to halt the hosting of Formula 1 race in Malaysia, SIC has decided to pull the plug on hosting the World Superbike race too.
SIC Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Razlan Razali has confirmed that the numbers for the World Superbike have been disappointing, and that they are not making profit from the race. However, SIC will continue to host the Grand Prix motorcycle racing event (MotoGP) until 2021.
“With SIC’s contract to host the WorldSBK coming to an end, we decided not to continue hosting this event in Sepang,” Dato’ Razlan Razali said. “Due to the current financial climate and SIC’s financial commitments to improve our existing facilities as well as build new ones, it is the most prudent decision at this point.”
However, with the F1 and World Superbike series out of the picture, the SIC risks becoming a “white elephant”, an expensive venue that will no longer be of much use to the public.
But Dato’ Razlan begs to differ, he assured everyone that SIC is currently in the midst of planning a brand new set of activities and projects that will employ the SIC and make sure it remains pertinent. He also mentioned that the circuit is still in popular demand for other sporting activities from the public, and that will help to rake in revenue.
“I assure you that the SIC will not be a white elephant.” Dato’ Razali told Kosmo. “Although we will no longer be hosting the F1 and WSBK, the SIC is still occupied for activities each. And it’s occupancy rate is almost 90%.”
One of the activities that Dato’ Razali said we could expect in the future is a Sepang circuit safety program, which will be done in collaboration with JPJ ( Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan).
“F1 is out of the picture because it was costing way too much money. But we will make up for it with other events. For now, hosting the MotoGP is the most sensible thing, it’s the only event that is still popular and bringing in the crowd.” he added.
Apart from that, Dato Razali also said that SIC will be working to rectify some issues that have been brought to his attention regarding the safety of the circuit.