The prospect of Malaysia returning to the Formula 1 calendar in the future is being thwarted by the cost of securing a deal with the sport.
Following the 2017 edition of the race, Malaysia dropped off the schedule, having been held yearly since 1999.
Rising hosting fees as well as declining ticket sales were credited with seeing the grand prix disappear from the calendar.
The Sepang International Circuit was a fan favourite and up until its final two races, was often scheduled to host a race in the early stages of the F1 season.
The unpredictable weather and the nature of the circuit’s layout often made for exciting grands prix.
But hopes that it will return in the near future have been calmed by Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh.
“F1 is very expensive. We had to wait for RM20 million from the government just to upgrade the track,” said Yeoh to the Malaysian publication The Vibes.
“If we could host an F1 race we would already have done it, but for now, we can’t afford to have the races.
“For now, we will use the money for urgent fixes.”
The Sepang International Circuit hosts other major racing categories, including MotoGP. The 2023 edition of the event is set to take place in November later this year.
With major renovations taking place at the track, the CEO of the venue, Azhan Shafriman Hanif, provided an update on the works.
“So far, resurfacing works have been going well, this week we have laid down the first layer,” he said.
“It is expected to be completed by April 27, just in time for the Porsche Carrera Cup taking place at the end of the month.”