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Published: Thursday March 22, 2007 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday July 5, 2013 MYT 12:59:22 AM

Government gives SIC mandate to ensure Malaysia remain on the F1 calendar

PETALING JAYA: The government are committed to ensure that Malaysia remain as one of the legs of the F1 World Championships beyond 2010. 

Malaysia hosted their first F1 Malaysian Grand Prix in 1999 and last year promoters Sepang International Circuit (SIC) renewed the contract for another five years. 

The SIC chairman, Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir, said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi gave them the mandate recently to take steps to ensure that Malaysia remained on the F1 calendar beyond 2010. 

“We have met Bernie Ecclestone (the F1 rights holder) recently to convey this message from the government,” said Mokhzani. 

“We have had a preliminary discussion. I do not know his answer yet but if the terms of the extension are agreeable with us, we are ready.” 

Shuttle service: SIC chairman Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir (left) and Naza Group of Companies executiveoperating director Mohd Faizal Tan Sri Mohd Nasimuddin unveiling the Naza Ria MPV that will be used totransport photo journalists during the Petronas Malaysian F1 Grand Prix next month. – VICTOR K.K. NG

The recent visit to London is a follow-up from the first last year, which was also attended by Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said. 

An answer can be expected by September and Mokhzani added that there were plans for the SIC to upgrade the facilities at the circuit. 

Preparations are currently going full swing to get ready for the season’s second round of the F1 Championships at the circuit in Sepang from April 6-8. 

The SIC will also host three days of testing sessions for 10 F1 teams from March 27-29. The only team who will not be involved in the sessions are Spyker.  

They have decided to fly their cars back to Europe after the Australian GP in Melbourne last Sunday for further development work. 

On ticket sales, the SIC have chalked up an estimated RM11mil from 26,000 tickets sold thus far. For the event this year, the SIC have are targeting to attract 120,000 spectators. 

Despite the daunting task of having to sell 96,000 tickets more to meet the target, Mokhzani remained optimistic of their goal as the event draws nearer. 

“We are looking at selling in the region of 7,000 to 15,000 tickets more within the next one week through the various promotions, which should generate about RM10mil more. From previous years, Malaysians generally wait until the last minute to purchase tickets,” he said after officiating at a sponsorship function with Naza Group of Companies. 

Naza will be the official media shuttle for the Malaysian GP and will provide 16 units of the Naza Ria MPV, which will be used to transport photo journalists during the event. 

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