Malaysia looks set to leave Formula One in 2018 according to the country’s Culture and Tourism minister.
As one of the first ‘Tilkedrome’ circuits, the first Malaysian Grand Prix in 1999 was instantly popular, with drivers enjoying the fast flowing circuit, and fans enjoying the new and modern faculties near the main Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Over the years though attendances have dropped, and until this year only small improvements had been made to the circuit and facilities, and even then most of these favour bikes rather than Formula One cars.
Despite being one of the cheapest Grand Prix to visit, it still has an attendance problem. Given that it is a major Asian city, close to a major international airport access isn’t a problem like it was in Korea. Given the cost to promote and put on a Formula One event, tourism and culture minister Nazri Abdul Aziz said there wouldn’t be a Grand Prix after 2018, the end of the current contract.
He said, “The current agreement is from 2016 to 2018. So once that ends, there will be no more F1. F1 attendance is dropping and there is less attraction now. We are spending RM 300 million a year [$97 million].
“The cost of hosting F1 has increased 10-fold compared to the first time it was held.”