Formula 1 might make a come back to Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit (SIC) if Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has his way. He said this when speaking at the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Kuala Lumpur in a The Star report.

While not providing a specific date, Dr Mahathir said, “we intend to bring back the Grand Prix, but I don’t know if it’s next year or the year after.” Citing substantial local interest in the Grand Prix, Dr Mahathir added, “we want to bring back the race here, because it has stimulated many Malaysians to go into the automotive industry.”

Dr Mahathir acknowledged that despite not hosting motorsports premier race, SIC still has a busy calendar hosting races and events. However, he felt that by hosting Formula 1 again, spectator numbers would increase. “We will be able to get spectators, more than 100,000 people and that will be worthwhile for us,” he said, having previously expressed this view.

Formula One – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Malaysian GP 2017. Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas
Formula One – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Malaysian GP 2017. Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas

“Besides, when we have the Grand Prix, the television stations will broadcast this all over the world, bringing about 200 million viewers,” Dr Mahathir said, increasing foreign exposure for Malaysia. Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the cancellation of Formula 1 at SIC in 2017 because the event had posted decreasing revenue yearly since it was first held in 1999 but also said the race could return under terms favourable to Malaysia.

Former tourism and culture minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz was cited as saying hosting Formula 1 costs Malaysia RM300 million per round while SIC chief operating officer Datuk Razlan Razali said there are many factors to consider before a return to hosting the Grand Prix is possible. SIC currently hosts a round of the MotoGP World Championship, the FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) for motorcycles and the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), with Super GT scheduled to return in 2020 as well as local race series Malaysia Speed Festival (MSF).