Malaysia’s Youth and Sports minister has urged officials at the Sepang International Circuit to focus their resources on Moto GP and not Formula One.
Malaysia first hosted a Formula One event in 1999 along with Moto GP. The first F1 race at the circuit in Kuala Lumpur was won by Ferrari’s Eddie Irvine with Michael Schumacher in second and Mika Hakkinen in third.
Khairy Jamaluddin took to Twitter to voice his opinion:
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. F1 ticket sales declining, TV viewership down. Foreign visitors down b/c can choose Singapore, China, Middle East. Returns are not as big.
Jamaluddin however, does not want the Formula One race to leave Malaysia completely but has admitted that it is not his call, he can only advice on the situation and he says that the final decision rests with the Sepang International Circuit.
In order for venues to have a Grand Prix they must pay Formula One commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone a hosting fee.
Jamaluddin believes that this fee is too high and that the money used to host the F1 race would be better spent by investing it in local racing talent and he feels that Moto GP which is cheaper to host should come to front.
It has been revealed that the circuit which has a capacity of 120,000 had an attendance of 45,000 at the 2016 Formula One on October 2.
The Sepang International Circuit’s contract to host Formula One runs until the end of 2018.