The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, has said he is keen to bring Formula 1 back to Sepang in the near future.

The Malaysian Grand Prix featured on the F1 calendar between 1999 and 2017, with the race being cancelled ahead of its contract expiry date after a mutual agreement was reached between the sport and the race organisers.

Despite race promoters citing the spiralling hosting costs and dwindling attendances as being the main reasons to scrap the grand prix at Sepang, Mohamad told officials at the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce's annual general meeting that interest in F1 remained “very big”.

“We want to bring the race back here,” Dr. Mahathir said, as quoted by The Edge Markets.

"Lots of people [go] there, [they] have motorcycle races there. And a lot of people buy expensive cars, especially in Singapore. In Singapore they don't have to drive.

“We think that by having the grand prix [again], we will be able to get more than 100,000 spectators and that will be worthwhile for us.”

Mahathir, 92, was instrumental in bringing F1 to Malaysia for the first time in 1999 as Prime Minister, and returned to office in 2018, 15 years after retiring from politics.

Despite Mahathir’s hopes, Sepang International Circuit CEO Razlan Razali stressed the track was eager to stick to its original plan of having at least five years without F1.

“[Mahathir] did express his desire that one day F1 will return, but we maintain that we would like to live life without Formula 1 for at least five years from our last race in 2017,” Razali told Fox Sports AU.

“We shall wait and evaluate the situation. What I’ve heard is in the last two years, the situation has changed, and I’m sure in the next two or three years, Formula 1 will continue to evolve and get better in terms of racing.

“If they are pushing more for street races than circuit racing then we may want it back, but they could not want us. We just have to wait and see how Formula 1 evolves and develops in the next couple of years."

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