Formel 1 – MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS, Großer Preis von Malaysia 2016. Lewis Hamilton ;
Formula One – MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS, Malaysian GP 2016. Lewis Hamilton;

After the announcement that the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix would be removed from the event calendar in 2018, questions have been asked as to what will happen to Sepang International Circuit (SIC), moving forward. When we spoke to SIC chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali in Feburary, he emphasised the fact SIC will not fall into disuse, and there are plans for major development to expand the circuit’s appeal to all.

Among plans for expansion, SIC chairman Tan Sri Azman Yahya mentioned 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, and reconfiguration of the north and south tracks to create a new exciting half-track.

Over the 19 years that Formula 1 has graced the calendar at SIC, the decision to terminate the event was by mutual consent, and Razlan is planning to re-examine current international events, with a view to reallocating the investment to new areas. “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,” said Razlan.

Azman added, “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.”

Other revenue streams envisaged by Razlan for SIC include 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. Nurturing racing talent from the grassroots will also continue with the SIC motorsport development programme.

For the final running of the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix in 2017, SIC will be 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 Azman.

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

SIC was built for the hosting of the 1999 Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix, at a reported cost of RM268 million. “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 Razlan.