This morning came the announcement that this year’s Malaysian Grand Prix is to be the last one.
The Sepang International Circuit has been a permanent fixture on the F1 calendar since hosting its first race back in 1999.
End of an era
The decision comes as the race organisers have achieved their goal of putting the South-East Asian nation on the map and were questioning the financial value of the event. The regular low attendances at the venue also cast doubt over its future.
“The Cabinet has agreed to end the contract after considering lowering returns to the country compared to the cost of hosting the championships.” – Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak
Unlike most Tilke tracks, the Sepang International Circuit (located near the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur) has been praised for its layout and the challenge that the weather poses. Whether it is oppressive jungle heat or monsoon rains, 56 laps of this track is something that the drivers have to be on top physical and mental form to complete.
F1 Fans shouldn’t be worried about the lack of races next year though, as Germany and France are both poised to return to the calendar. That will make a total of 21 races, just like 2016. There are still rumours that the Singapore Grand Prix will also disappear when its contract expires at the end of the year but no official word has been given regarding that.
Thanks for the memories
I for one will miss the Malaysian GP, it’s provided some absolutely great races such as the infamous “multi-21” incident back in 2013 and Schumacher’s impeccable defensive display in 1999.
It’s a shame, as it is the end of the first of the new breed of Grand Prix to boost Formula 1’s presence in emerging markets. That has been a very controversial subject over the years but without it, the calendar would likely look a lot sparser. The success of the ‘99 event likely peaked interest from the likes of China, Bahrain, Singapore, the UAE etc… as it was very much a pioneer in this regard.
But what do you think about F1 losing the Malaysian Grand Prix? Is it good or bad for the sport? Let us know in the comments below!