KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia intends to bring back the Formula One (F1) race, as there is still much interest in the sport, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Dr Mahathir, however, did not mention exactly when the race could make a comeback in the country.
“We intend to bring back the Grand Prix, but I don’t know if it’s next year or the year after.
“But the interest in Grand Prix is still very big and we want to bring back the race here, because it has stimulated many Malaysians to go into the automotive industry,” said Dr Mahathir when speaking at the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce luncheon here Thursday (April 18).
He added that many Malaysians have become “addicted” to motor vehicles and buy all kinds of new motor vehicles.
Dr Mahathir said that despite not hosting the international race, Sepang is still bustling, as many go to the racetrack there.
“Lots of people come, race there, (they) have motorcycle races there.
“And a lot of people buy expensive cars, especially in Singapore.
“In Singapore, they don’t have the chance to drive there. When they come to Malaysia, they find that breaking the speed limit here is okay,” he quipped.
Dr Mahathir also felt that by having the Grand Prix again, there will be many spectators.
“We will be able to get spectators, more than 100,000 people and that will be worthwhile for us.
“Besides, when we have the Grand Prix, the television stations will broadcast this all over the world, bringing about 200 million viewers,” he said, adding that it was good advertisement for Malaysia.
In 2017, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that Malaysia would stop hosting the F1, after the government decided to terminate the hosting contract.
Najib then said the decision was made due to a significant decline of returns since Malaysia first started hosting the event in 1999.