7 April 2017 – The decision on whether the Malaysian round of Formula 1 remains as part of the Grand Prix calendar has weighed heavy on the Government of Malaysia and Sepang International Circuit (SIC). Since the first Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix (F1PMGP) which was held in 1999, the event has been a pride for the nation helping to cement Malaysia’s reputation as a venue for top international sporting events, besides promoting Malaysia as a global tourist destination. However, it is timely now for Malaysia to re-examine the international events that it hosts with a view of reallocating the investment in new areas.

After 19 fantastic years together, SIC and Formula 1 have agreed that this year’s F1PMGP will be the last. The decision was taken by mutual consent, and both parties are determined that this year’s Grand Prix will represent a fitting finale for this world-renowned circuit.

“Our partnership with Formula 1 has been instrumental in the development of Sepang, the Malaysian motorsports industry and the sports tourism sector. Together, we have collaborated in talent development, infrastructure investment and skills upgrading. And we are extremely proud of our achievements in hosting the world class event and at the same time nurturing and developing home grown race-drivers, engineers, mechanics and track experts.” said Tan Sri Azman Yahya, Chairman of SIC.

In an economic impact study by PricewaterhouseCoopers commissioned by SIC in 2013, F1PMGP in 2012 generated over RM300 million in economic benefits. The event also generated extensive media exposure, besides creating over 4,500 jobs.

“While the Formula 1 played a key role in SIC’s origin, we have grown and expanded far beyond that in the past two decades. Over the last 10 years, we are booked with an average of more than 90% track utilisation, and we have much planned in the years to come. Our comprehensive plan to transform the circuit into an integrated, multi-faceted edutainment hub over the next five years offers many exciting features to look forward to. This includes new and upgraded facilities at the Sepang International Kart Circuit, installation of new lighting to accommodate night driving activities extending the operating hours of the circuit, an Advanced Driving Experience Centre, a reconfiguration of the north and south tracks to create a new exciting half-track and much more. With these foundations in place, we will continue to be an important venue for motorsport for many years to come,” he added.

Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations, Formula 1, commented, “It’s always sad to say goodbye to a member of the Formula 1 family. Over nearly two decades, the Malaysian Formula 1 fans have proven themselves to be some of the sport’s most passionate supporters. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Sepang International Circuit for their hospitality and professionalism over the years, and their ongoing commitment to motorsport.”

Dato’ Razlan Razali, the CEO of SIC said “Our involvement with F1 provided us with the skills and experience to further grow our national motorsports championships, as well as being a circuit for a multitude of manufacturer races such as the Lamborghini Super Trofeo, Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, Ferrari Challenge Asia and premier GT racing such as the SRO Sepang 12 Hours, Blancpain GT Series Asia and Asian Le Mans Series. We will enhance our grassroots talent pipeline through the SIC Motorsport Development programme. At the same time, we will continue promoting SIC as an ideal venue for non-motorsports activities and competitions such as the Music Run, obstacle races, concerts and various other events such as weddings, product launches and business workshops and seminars.”

Tan Sri Azman went on to say, “In essence, the objective of F1 has been fulfilled. The impact of the races has been felt and it has placed Malaysia on the global map. An adventure that span nearly two decades, providing positive economic impact to the Government, SIC, the motorsports and tourism industries, sponsors and local businesses”.

“We believe that we will continue to reel in the benefits of the races being held here for years to come. With the nurturing of drivers, local talent and enhancing a new breed of expertise through the SIC Technical Academy, Malaysia will continue to have its foothold in motorsports,” added Dato’ Razlan.
“In this final year, we are offering the lowest ticket prices ever, plus special discounts for Malaysians to thank them for their support over the years. In the past, maintaining strong spectator numbers has sometimes been a challenge, so we hope this new pricing schedule will enable us to bring the curtain down on the race with a strong showing,” said Tan Sri Azman.