Malaysia has been touted as a possible replacement venue after Formula One (F1) terminates its contract with Russian Grand Prix promoter.
However, the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) said they have not been approached by the organisers to host a race this season although there had been speculations going around. Nonetheless, SIC admitted that it would be interested in receiving an offer from the organisation of the F1 GP to replace the Russian F1 GP scheduled for Sept 25.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, F1 announced that the Russian GP scheduled at the Sochi Autodrom on 25 September has been cancelled.
The last time SIC hosted the F1 race was in 2017, but the government had pulled the handbrake citing rising costs and dwindling revenues as reasons for no longer hosting the race.
However, the recent successful staging of the MotoGP Winter Test has allowed SIC to showcase their and test their standard operating procedures (SOPs) for holding events with international visitors.
The Sepang track was favoured by legendary drivers Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen in the past, and it was cited in various international publications as a possible replacement for the 23 to 25 September slot along with Turkey and Germany.
SIC chief operating officer (CEO) Azhan Shafriman Hanif said several aspects need to be considered if there was an offer from F1 to organise the race.
He said that they will need to go through homologation by the FIA to see if the track is still in good shape. In addition, Azhan said they will need 6 months to prepare for the event and they will also need to look into things like marketing and the number of tickets they are allowed to sell.
On the other hand, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said the government is looking forward to contribution from the private sector to help bring back the Formula One (F1) Grand Prix (GP) to Malaysia.
He said this was because he had been informed that the effort would cost over RM200 million.
“If we can get help from private companies, organisations and the like, of course, we will support it, because for now, the government has to utilise its funds for many other things, especially during a time when the country is facing a tough economic situation due to COVID-19,“ he was quoted saying by Bernama.
In the meantime, he said the ministry would need to hold discussions with all relevant parties and conduct research before making a big decision on the matter.