Sepang Circuit fully booked despite absence of F1 race

28 Sep 2017 / 22:06 H.

SEPANG: From the Formula One (F1) drivers point of view, racing at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) is the most challenging because of its design and also the weather factors.
Dubbed as the "toughest and hottest race", which would test the team's availability in preparing their machines and driver, who, need to be physically and mentally prepared.
After close to two decades, the 2017 Malaysian F1 Grand Prix will be the finale as it will leave a lasting mark in the nation's history.
It has been the catalyst in promoting motorsports in the country and also marketing Malaysia internationally.
With the absence of the F1 race at the SIC starting next year, many say the circuit will be idle and become a 'White Elephant' project.
Sepang International Circuit (SIC) chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali said the circuit is not just meant for hosting the F1.
As such, Sepang International Circuit Sdn Bhd will promote more motorsports events.
"Our partnership with F1 has been instrumental in the development of the Sepang Circuit, the Malaysian motorsports industry and sports tourism sector.
"F1 played a key role in SIC's origin. We have grown and expanded far beyond that in the past two decades," said Razlan to Bernama.
He added that SIC also has a comprehensive plan to transform the circuit into an integrated, multi-faceted edutainment hub over the next five years.
Razlan said for next year, the track is fully booked with various track activities and by January, the track will be fitted with lighting system for night track activity.
With ticket sales having reached 68,000 as of yesterday, Razlan is confident that SIC can achieve its target of 80,000 tickets before bidding farewell to the Malaysian Grand Prix, branded as "F1NALE".
The SIC has hosted the Malaysian Grand Prix for 19 years.
On April 7, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak in a statement said Malaysia will no longer host the F1 race next year after the government agreed to terminate the organising contract.
Najib said the contract had to be terminated following sharp declining returns to the country compared with the organising cost.
Three-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton, noted that F1 race is losing one of it toughest race in its racing calendar.
"It is definitely sad to think this is the last race. It is the most challenging for the car and also the team. So, they are taking away one of the toughest race," said Hamilton in a press conference recently.
Last year, Hamilton's title hopes were dealt a severe blow when his engine burst into flames on lap 43 while the Briton was dominating the rest of the field in the Malaysian GP.
The 25 points that slipped through his fingers ultimately proved crucial at the end of the season when he lost the championship to his team mate, Nico Rosberg by five points. — Bernama

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