By BERNAMA / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS
With the absence of the Formula One (F1) race at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) starting next year, the circuit will not be left idle or risk becoming a ‘white elephant’ project, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak.
“SIC will be quite heavily utilised and it is not going to be a white elephant, there will be many, many activities,” he told a press conference at the SIC media centre in Sepang yesterday.
Najib and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi were there to watch the finale of the F1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix 2017.
“I come to the final F1 being held in Malaysia at SIC with a great deal of sentimental kind of feeling…
“We have hosted the event for 19 years. We have, since then, saw thrilling events over the 19 years. We have been able, to some extent, put Malaysia on the map of the world by hosting the F1 race.
“I know Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) has been able to showcase its involvement in F1, as well as its brand as a major national and multinational oil company,” he said.
Najib noted that the government and the F1 race promoter, Sepang International Circuit Sdn Bhd, are currently in the process of formulating other events that will be showcased or carried out at SIC.
“We will develop other kind of motorsports in this country, we would like to see a stronger Malaysian participation. I think that is what Malaysian fans wanted — to see Malaysian drivers participate,” he said.
On April 7, Najib in a statement announced that Malaysia will no longer host the F1 race next year after the government agreed to terminate the organising contract.
The contract had to be terminated, following sharp decreasing returns to the country compared to the organising cost.
“It doesn’t mean that hosting the F1 can’t be reconsidered in the future, provided the economic condition is favourable,” said Najib.