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Sepang circuit will not be a ‘white elephant’

Monday, 2 October 2017 :  The Sepang International Circuit will continue to be utilised despite it hosting the last Formula 1 race in Malaysia yesterday, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

It will not be a “white elephant”, he said, adding that many informal and formal activities will be held at the Sepang circuit.

The authorities will develop motorsports in the circuit with more Malaysian participation, he said.

“We found that it is what the fans want to see – local drivers participating in races,” he said here yesterday.

Najib said he made a visit to the final race with “a great deal of sentimental feeling”.

“We’ve hosted the event for 19 years and have seen some thrilling events over that time,” he added.

He said Formula 1 has put Malaysia on the world map, and with Petronas as race host, it has been able to showcase its involvement in the event as a major national and multinational oil company.

Najib said the Sepang circuit had attracted many fans in the earlier years and it has been a record attendance this year.

However, the rising costs to host the races were a concern and the Government decided not to extend the contract to host the event.

“It has been diminishing returns for us and because of that, the economic viability of it became less attractive.

“We decided to review and terminate it (the contract) but that doesn’t mean we can’t reconsider it at some point in time in the future, provided economic returns are favourable to us,” he said.

On his visit to Formula 1 races here, Najib said among his most memorable moments was when the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 team came in first and second in the 2014 race.

Najib said he was a little emotional as he got up to the podium for the prize-giving ceremony for the last time.

“I feel 19 years is a good stretch and we decided to close the book and concentrate on other races here.

“We wanted Lewis Hamilton to win.

“Everyone was rooting for him,but we have to accept that this is a race and anything can happen,” he said.

Source : Internet

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