Malaysia F1 GP’s fate to be known this week­end

> Spe­cial meet­ing on Thurs­day to dis­cuss fu­ture of race at Sepang In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

KUALA LUMPUR: The fate of the For­mula 1 (F1) Grand Prix at the Sepang In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit (SIC) will likely be known by the end of this week, said SIC CEO Datuk Ra­zlan Razali.

He said there will be a spe­cial meet­ing to dis­cuss the mat­ter with the Fi­nance Min­istry, which is SIC’s ma­jor stake­holder, on Thurs­day.

“F1 ticket sales here have gone down since 2014. In con­trast, the Malaysia Mo­tor­cy­cle GrandPrix (Mo­toGP) looks more promis­ing in terms of at­tract­ing spectators and its po­ten­tial spillover ef­fects,” he said at a me­dia brief­ing here yes­ter­day.

Malaysia first started host­ing the F1 in Sepang in 1999.

Ra­zlan, how­ever, said he will be in no hurry to is­sue an of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment of the dis­con­tin­u­a­tion of F1 in Malaysia as SIC has a “wa­ter­tight agree­ment” with the li­censed hold­ers un­til 2018.

“A tem­po­rary with­drawal from F1 (af­ter 2018) could be ben­e­fi­cial for the coun­try to take a break. Cur­rently, some say, the prod­uct (F1) is no longer ex­cit­ing as it is be­ing dom­i­nated by one team.

“An ini­tial re­port for the last F1 race also showed that tele­vi­sion view­er­ship in Malaysia was the low­est in his­tory,” he said, adding that Sin­ga­pore’s F1 also re­port­edly reg­is­tered a 20%de­cline in ticket sales.

Ra­zlan hinted at SIC fo­cus­ing to de­velop the Mo­toGP.

Mo­toGP, the world’s big­gest mo­tor­cy­cling event, was first staged at the Batu Tiga Cir­cuit in Shah Alam in 1991 be­fore shift­ing to the Pasir Gu­dang Cir­cuit, Jo­hor, in 1998. The Sepang Cir­cuit hosted its first Mo­toGP in 1999.

This week­end, at the Shell Malaysia Mo­toGP 2016, the 26th Malaysia MNo­toGP is set to be an­other crowd-puller, fol­low­ing last year’s sell­out sil­ver ju­bilee race.

“Last year we saw 85,000 spectators for our Mo­toGP. This year, as all the tick­ets were al­ready sold, we tar­get a record 90,000 spectators. Mov­ing for­ward, if all par­ties col­lab­o­rate, in­clu­sive of the min­istries of tourism, sports and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, we may im­prove,” he said. – Ber­nama

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