Malaysia’s Tourism and Culture Minister has confirmed that the country will stop hosting the Formula One race after its contract ends in 2018, a media report said on Monday.
Nazri Aziz was quoted as saying this was because the sport had become “too expensive to host and was no longer attractive’’.
He told newsmen at the parliament lobby that all over the world, even in Singapore, attendances for the races had decreased.
Nazri also said the country spent about RM300 million (68.6 million dollars) a year to organise the F1 race while the returns had not been up to par.
In an immediate response, Sepang International Circuit (SIC) chief executive Razlan Razali told newsmen it would ask the government to reconsider its decision.
“Anything can happen, if the race brought in more than a minimal economic impact to the country over the next two years.
“If we can show from the statistics that the race is relevant, then we will leave it to the government to decide,’’ he said.
SIC is the race promoter for the race that has been hosted at the circuit since 1999.
He added that as the custodian of the F1 race in Malaysia, it was important not to get too sentimental especially if the money used to pay to have the race needed to be channeled for more pressing matters.