The best, albeit sometimes inane, conversations had between Formula One drivers and their respective teams.
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.
Now anyone can be a race driver!
Mercedes Formula 1 has placed a hilarious advertisement in UK’s Autosport magazine, calling for a new “race driver”. This is in the wake of F1 champion Nico Rosberg resigning from his Mercedes team.
FOR REAL?? No, sorry, it’s a hoax.
“A vacancy has arisen for the position of race driver with the team.” the notice reads.
“Ideally, you will have a proven track record in skills including steering, braking and, in particular, accelerating. Possession of an FIA Super Licence will be an advantage.”
The also listing says that applicants with an FIA Super Licence will have an advantage. Mercedes will offer a generous bonus, life assurance, Mercedes company car lease scheme, on-site gym and subsidised restaurant facilities for the successful applicant.
Nico Rosberg stunned the world of motorsports when he announced his retirement right after lifting the trophy as world champion. Mercedes has been on the lookout for someone to step into his shoes, but it seems they have not had any luck yet.
We’re thinking this ad is probably a hint for someone…. *cough*Verstappen*cough*Wehrlein*
I’m still recovering from the shockwaves that hit me after F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg announced his unanticipated retirement from the racing world.
While we’re at it, Mercedes is scrambling to find a replacement for the 31-year old German. Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda has called for an immediate decision as early as February.
“I need a driver for the first test in February when the new car is ready.” Lauda said. “We have to train him on the simulator and into the team, so we should have a decision before the end of the year.”
So who will step into the shoes of the world champion? Let’s take a look at a few possible names:
This 22-year old German is a full time racer for Manor Racing. He seems to be the most likely candidate to replace Rosberg, as he is a member of the Mercedes junior program. He has also filled in for both Rosberg and Hamilton in testing. Wehrlein also picked up the ‘Rookie of the Year’ award for his performances at Manor this season.
“One season in F1 is not a lot, but I feel ready for the job, confident enough,” he said.
The four-time Formula One World Champion does not rank high on the ‘to replace Nico’ list, but he definitely is a worthy contender. Vettel ranks among some of the most successful F1drivers out there, and there have been reports that Vettel is growing tired of Ferrari’s lack of performance, failing to win any race this year. Unfortunately, both Vettel and his teammate Kimi Raikkonen both have a contract with Ferrari that extends until next year.
This 19 year old wonderkid impressed everyone at the recent F1 race, he finished 5th with Redbull after a brilliant run. He is young and full of potential, and already making waves, he seems like a great fit for Mercedes to groom him into the next World Champion.
But will Christian Horner be willing to let him go?
Malaysian racer Zaqhwan Zaidi has emerged as champion of the overall SuperSports 600cc at the Chang International Circuit, Thailand. Zaqhwan prevailed in the round six of the Asia Road Racing Championship.
Zaqhwan (Musashi Boon Siew Honda Racing) finished four points above Tomoyoshi Koyama at 162 points, and his fellow Malaysian racer Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman (BikeART Racing Kawasaki) finished third place at 142 points. Koyama finished second with 158 points.
At the start of the race, Zaqhwan was in second place and had to get at least six points to finish as champion. The 21-year old managed to get ahead when Koyama experienced some engine malfunction issue with his vehicle and had to withdraw from the race.
“Actually I had no idea that Koyama’s vehicle had problems, because I was always ahead of him. Only when I finished, I realised that he was not on the circuit the whole time.” Zaqhwan said after the race.
“However, I’m thankful for the victory, and I’d like to thank my team, sponsors, family and friends for helping me out all through the season.”