The Malaysian Grand Prix will drop off the Formula 1 calendar following the 2018 season after the government decided against renewing its contract, it has been reported.
The event, held at the Sepang International Circuit, has been a mainstay on the F1 schedule since the inaugural Malaysian GP in 1999 but has suffered in recent years for dwindling spectator numbers and television figures.
Though a new deal was only agreed last year, government ministers have reportedly opted not to pursue an extension beyond the current contract, which will expire after 2018 Malaysian Grand Prix, as it no longer makes commercial sense to continue subsidising it with state finances.
"After 2018 no longer," tourism and culture minister Nazri Abdul Aziz is quoted as saying by Reuters
. "(From the) longer term perspective, it's probably the correct decision because it's more expensive and no longer that attractive.”
A spokesperson for the Sepang International Circuit declined to comment on the reports when contacted by Crash.net
Malaysia's declaration comes as nearby Singapore also considers its options beyond 2017 when its current F1 deal ends.
The night race has established itself as a popular blue riband event for F1 since 2008 but the government is also now evaluating whether the financial return and promotion it receives are worth the significant outlay of running the street circuit in the heart of the city-state.
Furthermore, though Singapore and Malaysia are confirmed for 2017 at least, Germany, Canada and Brazil are uncertain for next season pending ongoing contract negotiations.
Latest Tweets from Crash.net & GPF1rst