Formula One fans in Malaysia can hope for a comeback of the renowned Grand Prix race after the last race was held there in 2017.
Speaking at the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce luncheon on April 18, Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said that there is an intention for Malaysia to bring Formula One (F1) racing back to the country, The Star reported.
There is no set date for the return of the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix, which was first held in 1999.
The Star quoted Mahathir saying: “We intend to bring back the Grand Prix, but I don’t know if it’s next year or the year after.”
“But the interest in Grand Prix is still very big and we want to bring back the race here, because it has stimulated many Malaysians to go into the automotive industry,” he added.
Mahathir also attributed the decision to the bustling Sepang International Circuit – former site of the Malaysian Grand Prix – even after they had stopped hosting the annual race.
“Lots of people come, race there, (they) have motorcycle races there,” Mahathir said.
Additionally, the Prime Minister felt that Malaysia would benefit greatly from hosting the Grand Prix again – due to the viewership and advertisement that the country would receive.
“We will be able to get spectators, more than 100,000 people and that will be worthwhile for us,” Mahathir told reporters at the event.
He also added: “Besides, when we have the Grand Prix, the television stations will broadcast this all over the world, bringing about 200 million viewers.”
The decision for Malaysia to stop hosting the F1 Grand Prix was announced by former Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2017.
The Star reported then that Najib said that the government had decided to terminate the hosting contract due to significant declines in returns since the first race in Malaysia in 1999.
Najib also added that for all the years Malaysia had hosted the race, the country still did not produce enough F1 drivers.