SIC to beef up security ahead of Malaysian F1 Grand Prix

SEPANG: The Sepang International Circuit (SIC) will not compromise on security for the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix, which will be held at the Sepang F1 circuit from March 21-23. 

The SIC general manager, Ahmad Mustafa, said that from March 17, all access to the track at night would be barred to deter attempts to sabotage the smooth running of the race. 

“Security will be tightened once all the teams start moving in their cargoes and equipment. All access to the track will be checked thoroughly. During race week, we will not allow anyone into the track at night without police clearance,” said Ahmad yesterday. 

He said that extra personnel have been hired to complement SIC's own security team as preparations stepped up for the annual event. 

“We are also working hand in hand with the police. Plainclothes policemen will be at the circuit during the race weekend as extra security precaution,” he said. 

“The Malaysian GP is a big national event. Many foreigners will be present and we are want to make sure that nothing untoward happens. We also want to give confidence to the public to attend without any worries.” 

On the sales of tickets to the GP, which is less than three weeks away, Ahmad said that they were confident of reaching their targeted attendance of 100,000 spectators. 

“We have sold about 40,000 tickets thus far. Although the looming war in Iraq has had an impact on international sales, we are still not far off our figure, compared to the same time last year,” said Ahmad. 

He said that SIC were not only focussing their efforts on promoting the race in Europe but also in the Middle East and Asia as well. 

“Our focus also shifted to the Asia Pacific region recently and we have been working with travel agents to promote bulk sales,” said Ahmad. 

Malaysia will be hosting the second leg of the F1 World Championships and Ahmad believes that the excitement will naturally build up once the season opener gets underway in Melbourne this weekend. 

“I believe ticket sales will start to pick up here. Generally, Malaysians tend to wait until the last minute,” he said. 

“We are also thankful that local corporations and the Kuala Lumpur City Hall have also come in to help sell the event.” 

Last year's event drew 92,500 spectators and it was the best ever attendance since the inaugural race in 1999. 

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