Malaysian prime minister wants Formula 1 back at Sepang

The Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said he wishes to see Formula 1 return to the Sepang International Circuit in the very near future, possibly as early as 2021.

The Malaysian Grand Prix had been a fixture of the F1 calendar since 1999 until it was dropped in 2017 over spiralling costs and a change of government.

Dr Mahathir was Prime Minister when the race joined the calendar and was recently voted back into power last year. Speaking at the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce’s annual general meeting last week, he expressed a desire to see F1 back in the country soon.

“We believe that the interest in the Grand Prix is still very big, and we want to bring the race back here," he said.

He added that the Sepang circuit is "still very busy" with MotoGP and endurance racing and that attracting more spectators to F1 is possible.

"We think that by having the Grand Prix [again], we will be able to get more than 100,000 spectators and that will be worthwhile for us.

"Besides that, when we have the Grand Prix, the television stations broadcast this all over the world, bringing about 200 million viewers."

It reflects comments by Sepang Circuit boss Razlan Razali, although he believes a later return would be more likely.

"We would like to live life without F1 for at least five years from our last race in 2017," he said.

"We just have to wait and see how F1 evolves and develops in the next couple of years."