Malaysian Grand Prix 2017 will be the last Formula 1 race at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) as the Asian country has confirmed that it will scrapping its contract as hosts after race on 1 October, this year.
Notably, Malaysia's tourism and culture minister Nazri Abdul Aziz had hinted that the country will not renew its contract after its end in 2018 as the race was no more a revenue generating option, according to the senator. However, the F1 and the SIC have parted ways with an year in contract to host the race left.
SIC Chief Executive Officer Razlan Ahmad Razlan Ahmad Razali had opined last year against hosting the annual race saying the ticket sales for the F1 race has been going down 10% every passing year and reached only between 55 and 60% in 2016. Also, it was reported earlier that state oil and gas company Petronas had been hard hit by dropping oil prices and that it was no longer in a position to sponsor the title race in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia had joined the F1 calendar in 1999 and became an attractive stop in Asia. F1 and SIC have revealed that they are willing to give the race a fitting farewell this year. Also, the 2018 F1 calendar will still have 21 races with the additions of the French and German races.
"It is always sad to say goodbye to a member of the Formula 1 family. 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," Sean Bratches, Managing Director of Formula 1 Commercial Operations, said, as quoted by the sport's official website.
"Over nearly two decades, the Malaysian Formula 1 fans have proven themselves to be some of the sport's most passionate supporters."
Despite the country pulling out as hosts, Petronas will continue to sponsor Mercedes AMG Formula 1 Team, Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a statement.
"Cabinet has agreed to terminate the contract of hosting the Formula One (F1) beginning 2018 as an increasingly significant decrease in returns to the country compared with the cost of hosting the tournament. Nevertheless, Petronas will continue its sponsorship of Team Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team as the company's marketing strategy," the statement read.