The departure of our very own Sepang International Circuit from the Formula 1 calendar will see the loss of one of the toughest circuits to host the premier open-wheel racing series, three-time F1 drivers champion Lewis Hamilton said according to a Reuters report.

“It is definitely sad to think this is the last race. It’s the most challenging for the car and the team, so they are taking away one of the toughest, if not the toughest, Grand Prix of the season, which will be hard to replace,” Hamilton said at a press conference.

The announcement that Malaysia will no longer host Formula 1 races from next year onwards was confirmed by prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who cited poor returns for the country relative for the financial outlay incurred in the hosting of the events.

“In 1999, only 16 countries played host to the prestigious race, including two Asian countries. This has since increased to 21 nations, with six Asian countries, effectively leading to a reduction in returns to the organiser and the country,” Najib stated.

The continual decline in number of viewers, visitors and number of tourist arrivals put the funding government at a disadvantage, he said, adding that funding can now be redirected to developing local motorsport talents, infrastructure as well as knowledge and technology transfer.

Hamilton’s lamenting of Sepang’s impending departure from the Formula 1 calendar comes despite his nightmare outing at the 5.5 km-long, 15-turn circuit last year, which saw the Briton lose the race lead midway due to engine failure.