No F1 racing but Sepang circuit fully booked for 2018

The circuit will promote more motorsports events and will be fitted with a lighting system for night track activity by January.

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SEPANG: With the absence of the Formula One race at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) starting next year, many say the circuit will be idle and become a white elephant project.

However, SIC chief executive officer Razlan Razali said the circuit was not only meant for hosting the F1.

As such, Sepang International Circuit Sdn Bhd will promote more motorsports events at the venue.

He added that SIC also had a comprehensive plan to transform the circuit into an integrated, multi-faceted edutainment hub over the next five years.

Razlan said that for next year, the track was fully booked with various track activities.

By January, the track will be fitted with a lighting system for night track activity, he added.

The SIC is the most challenging for F1 drivers because of its design and also weather factors.

After close to two decades, the 2017 Malaysian F1 Grand Prix will be the finale.

It has been the catalyst in promoting motorsports in the country and also marketing Malaysia internationally.

“Our partnership with F1 has been instrumental in the development of the Sepang Circuit, the Malaysian motorsports industry and sports tourism sector.

“F1 played a key role in SIC’s origin. We have grown and expanded far beyond that in the past two decades,” Razlan told Bernama.

With ticket sales having reached 68,000 as of yesterday, Razlan said he was confident the SIC could achieve its target of 80,000 tickets before bidding farewell to the Malaysian Grand Prix, branded as “F1NALE.’

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The SIC has hosted the Malaysian Grand Prix for 19 years.

On April 7, Prime Minister Najib Razak, in a statement, said Malaysia would no longer host the F1 race next year after the government agreed to terminate the organising contract.

Najib said the contract had to be terminated following sharp declining returns to the country compared with the organising cost.

Three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton noted that the F1 race was losing one of its toughest races in its calendar.

“It is definitely sad to think this is the last race. It is the most challenging for the car and also the team. So, they are taking away one of the toughest races,” said Hamilton at a press conference recently.

Last year, Hamilton’s title hopes were dealt a severe blow when his engine burst into flames on lap 43 while the Briton was dominating the rest of the field in the Malaysian GP.

The 25 points that slipped through his fingers ultimately proved crucial at the end of the season when he lost the championship to his team mate, Nico Rosberg by five points.

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Bahagian pelancongan nusantara merupakan salah satu seksyen yang penting dalam ekonomi Malaysia. Sehingga saat ini, seksyen pelancongan merupakan sektor kelima terbesar negara selepas sektor perkhidmatan kewangan, kelapa sawit, borong dan runcit, gas dan tenaga, dan petroleum dengan memberikan sebanyak RM36.9 bilion kepada Keluaran Negara Kasar (KNK).

Pun begitu pada peringkat awal selepas pasca kemerdekaan Malaysia, kerajaan tidak memberi penekanan terhadap sektor pelancongan. Kerajaan pada ketika itu lebih memberi tumpuan kepada pembangunan infrastruktur negara dan melawan ancaman komunis. Selain itu, penyebab ancaman dari luar seperti konfrantasi dengan negara jiran turut menjejaskan rencana kerajaan pada ketika itu. Ia sekaligus melambatkan pekembangan sektor pelancongan di Malaysia.

Pada era tahun 60-an, sektor pelancongan masih belum memainkan peranan yang penting terhadap perkembangan ekonomi negara. Kerajaan pada waktu itu memberi tumpuan kepada sektor hasil bumi seperti bijih timah dan getah. Sektor hasil bumi tersebut telah menyumbang sebanyak 45% kepada keluaran Negara kasar (KNK) pada tahun 1970.