After going through the reports from last weekend’s Formula One race at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC), Malaysia has decided not to host more F1 races anymore, well, at least not in the near future. But it will happily continue hosting the MotoGP.
Malaysia came to this decision after analysing the increasing costs of hosting a Formula One race and declining number of audience. According to the reports from Tourism Malaysia, Putrajaya, Malaysia’s centre of government, spent around $75 million annually to host an F1 race, whereas the cost for a MotoGP event is just over $10 million, in addition to cheaper ticket prices.
If we talk about numbers, we can see that the attendance for a MotoGP event in Malaysia has only grown over the years; from 65,000 in 1999 to 161,553 last year, according to the organizers at Sepang. On the other hand, Formula One couldn’t gather a large audience, falling to 83,828 last year from its peak of 126,690 in 2008. Just to break even, Malaysia needs at least 100,000 people to buy tickets. Last weekend, the number was 110,000 which was made possible by providing discounted tickets.
Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Madrid-based Dorna Sports SL, which holds the commercial rights to MotoGP, said, “The series’ popularity reflects the rapidly growing motorcycle culture in Asian countries.Life on two wheels is a way of life there, and I think this creates an atmosphere of familiarity with two-wheeled sport among the fans that many other motorsports don’t share.”
Commenting on this issue, Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said, “The Sepang circuit will not be left idle or risk becoming a white elephant project, and that the country may consider hosting F1 again in the future. The circuit is popular with both car and motorcycle racers, for both its technical sections, passing opportunities, and long high-speed straightaway.”
The next MotoGP race of 2017 season at the Sepang International Circuit is scheduled to take place on 29th Oct. Also, the official provisional calendar for 2018 MotoGP season has been released and Malaysia will host it in Nov next year.