Kuala Lumpur – Mahathir Mohamad intends to bring back the Formula One (F1) race to Malaysia after a hiatus since 2017 for declining returns.
Mahathir said that he plans to bring back the race because Malaysians are becoming interested in the automotive industry thanks to F1.
The Star Online reported that the exact year of the international race returning to Malaysia is not yet decided.
“We intend to bring back the F1 but I don’t know if it’s next year or the year after,” said Mahathir, who spoke at the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce on April 18 (Thursday).
The prime minister added that the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) has remained busy with different events in spite of not hosting rhe F1 race.
He aims to attract many spectators with the Malaysian Grand Prix’s return.
“We’ll be able to get spectators, more than 100,000 people and that will be worthwhile for us. Besides, when we have the race, the television stations will broadcast this all over the world, bringing about 200 million viewers,” he said.
The SIC hosted the Malaysian Grand Prix for the F1 World Championship from 1999 to 2017.
In 2017, former prime minister Najib Razak announced the end of the race due to the high costs of hosting the events and the decline of returns.
Express noted that the issue for the cancellation stemmed from the popularity of the Singapore Grand Prix compared to Malaysia’s.
Just to win the rights of hosting the race in one’s country costs around £50million (S$ 88.11 million), an amount the Malaysian government did not deem justifiable to spend on.
“Cost too high, returns limited,” the then youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin had said, adding that the Malaysian Grand Prix used to be a “novelty” and a big deal as it had been the first F1 race in Asia outside Japan.