F1 confirms no Malaysian Grand Prix in 2018

2018 F1 season

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The Malaysian Grand Prix will not be part of the 2018 F1 calendar, Formula One Management has confirmed.

The future of the race at the Sepang International Circuit has been in doubt since the country’s minister for tourism said in November its current deal was in doubt.

Race organisers signed a three-year deal in 2015 which would have included a grand prix next year. However today’s announcement has ruled that out.

“It’s always sad to say goodbye to a member of the Formula One family,” said F1 commercial operations managing director Sean Bratches.

“We will have 21 exciting events to look forward to in the 2018 calendar, with the additions of the French and German races.”

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Sepang International Circuit for their hospitality and professionalism over the years, and their ongoing commitment to motorsport.”

Sepang was built to hold the first Malaysian Grand Prix in 1999 and the race has been a fixture on the calendar ever since. However attendance has fallen sharply in recent years to around two-thirds of their 2013 level.

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Keith Collantine
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83 comments on “F1 confirms no Malaysian Grand Prix in 2018”

  1. Shame as I think thats probably the best track Tilke’s come up with.

    Istanbul was good, I think Korea & India were good & I’m quite fond of Bahrain & China. However Sepang has a much better flow, A more varied mix of corners & is probably the most traditional/old school style circuit of the lot.

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      7th April 2017, 8:11

      @stefmeister At least we have China, because the first half of the track is almost the same as Sepang. Really.

      First turn is a long right hander, follower by a left. This leads to a slow right hand corner, followed by two high speed left and right handers, which are then followed by a double apex corner. There is a straight after this double apex corner, which ends in a slow left hander. Actually, that’s more than half of the track.

    2. yes sepang is great circiut better then shanhgai baku sochhi,bahrein i abu dhabi,

    3. Sepang is second only behind Suzuka as being the best of the middle and far eastern F1 tracks, in my estimation. Too bad about the politics, but now there room in the calendar for France and Germany to try and host a GP again.

  2. damn i really miss this track i hope it comes back soon it really has a flow and challenge which i enjoy in rf and rf2. Its a Tilke best track before he decided to pursue the 90 deg slow speed corners

  3. Robert McKay
    7th April 2017, 6:50

    Good thing they didn’t invest in turning it into a night race as there was talk of a couple of years back.

  4. Gutted but thanks Sepang, it’s been fun.

  5. Wait… German race in 2018? Which circuit?

    1. The modified Hockemhiem Ring.

    2. @rike
      Hockenheim. This year’s race was predictably cancelled, as it was the Nürburgring’s turn, so next year’s return was rather predictable as well.

      1. I have to say, I like the Nurnburgring much better than the current version of the Hockenheimring.

        1. @jeffreyj
          I wholeheartedly agree with you. Old Hockenheim was special, the twisty final sector was insanely challenging with the inevitable low-downforce setups.
          New Hockenheim is a travesty. Medium-downforce, medium-everything, corners are nothing but painted lines on a tarmac ocean.
          Nürburgring is a nice track with a challenging, flowing layout. I’d be so glad if the fortunes of these circuits were reversed.

        2. I still hope, the new owner seems to get more cooperative, since the classic festival ( rock am ring) returns this year too, after being held at a different location for four years, because the new ownership didn’t want it there anymore

    3. I’m sure FOM didn’t want to lose Malaysia and I’m sure Bratches worried at this denial otherwise he wouldn’t have said anything about Germany and France. I don’t think it’s part of an attempt to bring F1 back to the viewership, I think at this stage not being able to strike any deal is ominous of the absence of Bernie, regardless of whether that has anything to do with it or not.
      I’m sorry but I’d rather keep Malaysia than get a French and a German GP. We sometimes miss the historic races and f1’s core is europe but not only the malaysian GP was a great event but it was also about to become 20, 20 years in Asia with that race.

      1. @peartree Really? You’d rather keep Sepang than France+Germany? Not many would agree with you. Can’t see the logic in that

        1. Why not. I completely agree for as far as it concerns Germany. Sepang is so much better than Hockenheimring, with much more exciting racing.
          I just want to wait and see how the French GP will work out. Until than, Sepang will be deerly missed!

        2. Liberty wants 25 races a year, so as far as it is concerned, it’s not either/or – it wants Malaysia and France and Germany and 4 other races (at least 2 of which would be in the USA in its ideal calendar).

      2. Maybe Liberty isn’t as comfortable as Bernie was when dealing with autocratic governments?

        1. @ferrox-glideh Maybe, I think they rather nuke them. @montreal95 That’s not what Bratches said, still my opinion is the same, new Hockenheim is lacklustre, new-ish Nurburgring is unspectacular, Magny-cours is dull and finally Paul Ricard is barren. I’d say most would agree with me. I’d say most youngsters can recall more malaysian gp’s than German and French Gp’s. Having a French and a German Gp for the sake of it, is pointless to me.

          1. @peartree I don’t disagree with you that based on the quality of the circuit Sepang is better than any current F1 grade German or French circuits. So is Istanbul. And where is it now? As great a circuit Sepang is it’s in a country that doesn’t care about F1. German and French GP being in Europe are in the heartland of F1 support. Like it or not, most F1 fans are located in Europe. If you lose the heartland, you lose the sport. Fans who are younger than 25, may well remember more Malaysian GP’s than German or French ones, but if you run a poll of which races F1 must have in the calendar(like as part of the global poll Autosport is conducting right now with well over 100k votes so there must be some young people voting too), the inevitable results are circuits in Europe plus Suzuka. There’s a reason for that, one that seemingly you cannot understand: tradition matters. Even to young fans. A clear example of that is from American sports. American sports franchises can move from city to city and frequently they do. But the franchises that have the most amount of fans(which of course makes them more valuable commercially) are those who hadn’t moved for 50, 60 or in some cases 100 years. The lesson from that is clear.

  6. They axe one of the best races on the calendar while they keep some awful, boring ones like Monaco.

    1. Or Barcelona, for that matter. Horrible track for racing.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        7th April 2017, 8:08

        Valencia should be the Spanish Grand Prix

        1. Valencia, really? I thought it was the most boring track ever, I don’t really like street circuits, Valencia was the worst. The most exciting thing that happened there was Webber flipping the car.

          1. Shaun Robinson (@)
            7th April 2017, 12:44

            Agree. But one of my favourite races was there (mainly because it was so unexpected). 2012 Alonso charging from the middle of the grid to win it – brilliant. But yeah the track was dull, flat, everything looked the same, too narrow. I liked the last sector but only for playing on the xbox!

    2. MrF1GuyV12POWAHHH (@)
      7th April 2017, 8:45

      Atleast Monaco is challenging. Sochi would be a great example of an awful boring track

      1. Yep, Sochi slotted right into the Valencia slot for seaside car park track.

      2. Let’s not forget Abu Dhabi. The only track as rubbish as Baku.

        1. @todfod Hey half of Baku was the best race of the season, the other half was a bit dull and there was some big gaps, but overall the race was dogged by criticizing the Azerbaijan rather than an interesting street circuit and actual racing, I know Lewis was on an off weekend and that Nico won again, no excuse though.
          I’m seeing south americans don’t like european races, you see FOM not every viewer is european. I love Monaco and although barcelona is dreadful it’s been there for almost 30 years.

    3. Do you know anything about F1 history? Monaco is only on the calendar because it’s the most important race on the calendar, and they don’t have to pay a hosting fee. That is a race that has been run since 1929- only the French, Italian and German GP’s have run consistently longer than that.

      1. I don’t believe in “we must do it because we’ve always done it”. I don’t care if they’ve been racing there since 800 BC, if it’s a boring circuit with zero overtaking, I want it out.

        1. Monaco is probably the farthest thing from a boring circuit on the current F1 calendar, other than Spa and Suzuka. Sure, it is tight as hell and it is practically impossible to overtake (it has always been that way), and that’s probably why you don’t like it. But I cannot think of a single circuit more challenging to drive than that one, and it is one of those tracks that is great just to see F1 cars drive around there. And also it’s an important race for sponsors, as there are many big parties and events to attend there.

          1. *single current F1 circuit more challenging to drive than that one

          2. I won’t be driving or going to the parties. I watch it on TV, and it’s boring as hell.

    4. @ironcito Monaco is not boring. Sepang is in a country that doesn’t care about F1. Next.

    5. Monaco is sometimes predictable, but never boring.

  7. So last year Malaysia changed 9 corners to improve overtaking for F1 (MotoGP does not need that) and get axed a year later. Classy.

    1. Edit, it was their own choice.

      1. Yep, bad decision there. But this decision makes sense. At least, they are not throwing good money after bad.

      2. @matthijs The decision to modify the corners was made probably as the last attempt to save F1 in Sepang. But it didn’t help attendance figures. Clearly Malaysia doesn’t care about F1 anymore, if it ever did. Same as Turkey, unfortunately, a great track but not in a relevant place for F1

        1. It did the first two years – the stands were practically full. Then they got moved to the start of the season… (The move back didn’t work because by then Singapore was on the scene).

          1. @alianora-la-canta I don’t think you can learn anything from the first 2 GP’s in operation at any track. The novelty brings fans but it eventually wears off. These masses of fans, were, IMO, were proven to be the fans of novelty, not fans of F1 proper.

          2. True. However, moving a race substantially in the calendar is in and of itself a confunding factor – for example, Turkey’s audience shrank enormously when it was moved from its mid-season slot to the week of university finals.

  8. no, no, no, no, damn it, i loved sepang :(

  9. Sepang is definitely a modern classic track. It will be missed.

    1. Completely agree. The best of the Tilkedromes and by far the best race in Asia. Surprised that Liberty didn’t manage this one better.

      1. @todfod
        Isn’t Suzuka in Asia ?
        Can’t think of many races anywhere that come close to that for producing great races.

        1. @beneboy

          Yep. Although it’s a classic track, I can’t remember a really entertaining race I’ve seen at Suzuka since 2005.

  10. They don’t market these events enough internationally. My friend had just gone to China and its cost him about the same as a weekend to Silverstone.

    1. Hehe, and he gets to see China.

      1. But he doesn’t get to see much F1 practice!!!

    2. @philipgb The Malaysian GP would probably cost half, as it has the cheapest F1 tickets on the calendar, the hotels are really cheap (I’m talking about the best ones) and the experience is amazing.

      1. I have that sinking feeling, like I’ve just missed the boat.

  11. I can’t but help wonder suspect F1 races are stuck behind the Pay Wall.

  12. If it means that France and Germany get to return on the F1 calendar, two countries with tremendous history in F1, then O.K, fine.

    1. @brickles Really? Is that what we want? Internet might have not reached f1 a long time ago but globalization did. World Championship huh. I guess it’s a generational thing, new generations tend to get drawn and tangled by history, history they’ve never experienced, ancient relations.

      1. @peartree Yes, really. Sepang is nothing in F1 terms. France and Germany are everything in F1 terms. You can’t have a house without foundations, and you can’t have a successful sport, without it routs, history, legends. It’s the same in football, basketball, baseball, rugby, etc. etc. You can’t have F1 based on Sepang, Abu Dhabi and Bahrein. Globalization is a business term, without a soul. A sport is based on passionate fans who will follow it. No fans=no F1.

        1. @montreal95 Quite the opposite. Sport breaks all barriers. History is earned, not unsubstantiated. Brazil has nothing to do with football’s origins, but they’ve become a foundation of football and the record holders for the most world cup titles. Why compete every year, every competition if you don’t want to conqquer your opponents, you just want to win. Next thing you’re saying you want Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man Utd, Liverpool etc getting a straight pass to CL, just because they’re historic teams.

          1. @peartree Sports breaks all barriers? That’s a pipe dream, a manifesto of IOC that has been proven wrong time and time again. In fact most of the time sport, competitive sport, is just a projection of politics, like countries counting medals at Olympics as part of the national pride(and using doping to achieve them).

            Brazil is completely wrong example. They became a part of football folklore because they were exceptionally good at it, and because the Brazilan public embraced football like it was they who invented it. The only thing Malaysia has is a track in F1 terms, no drivers, no passionate fans, no real motorsport infrastructure, nothing. And still by the way, the Premiership is the best league in the world despite its national team not winning anything for 50 years. How does the Brazilian league compare?
            About those teams you’ve mentioned, they usually get into the CL anyway because they have the fans=they are attractive to sponsors=they get lots of money=they have the best players. It’s as simple as that. Sport is about the fans. And who are the majority of fans? Not the globalist, “citizens of the world”, cosmopolitan “children of globalization” that’s for sure. These types are the minority anyway. Most fans(read:most of the public)do care about tradition and about their country.

            To summarize: I like Sepang very much, but Germany and France are more important to F1. You cannot just parachute a track into some motorsport tradition lacking country and expect the support to come from nowhere. You need to build from the ground up. The great Maracana stadium was built because of the football enthusiasts at the Copacabana beach and not the other way round.

          2. @montreal95 Have you looked up sports on the dictionary. I’m not speaking of professional sports, which is an antithesis, sport is not professional sport is amateur. Sport’s definitions has diluted over time, the olympics are a good example, in the old days only amateurs were qualified for participation now in the last games, even Boxing has turned pro.

      2. Every generation comes to terms with history in its own way. The fact that F1 can actually boast a rich enough historical context to attract new fans is impressive, and sets the stage for a prolonged popularity.

  13. Hamilton will surely be mad about this decision, it should have happened a year ago

  14. Good, room for more races.

  15. As one my favourite circuits I am sad, but I’m happy that they have been able to make this decision not to pay the ridiculous fee to host a race, rather than being swung to pay by FOM’s agenda.

    Hopefully they might return in years to come. For the time being, quite when you don’t need F1, rather than when F1 doesn’t need you.

  16. Terrible news for me.

  17. Ever since Singapore came around, the Malaysian GP has been expendable, in my opinion. Maybe Sepang can be used as a test track or something, but I for one am glad it’s off the calendar for next year.

    1. how’s that? singapore is as interesting as watching paint dry (in night)

    2. Singapore is not remotely as good as Sepang. Peculiar spectacle and a unique race to be sure but not an interesting layout by any means.

      1. Singapore’s a better event. Sepang is definitely better for actual on-track action, but there is room for improvement in Singapore (they should change the layout, it’s definitely anti-racing) and the fact that it takes place at night makes it even more spectacular an event. Another good thing about Singapore is that it is the most physically demanding race of the year, and F1 needs a race or two like that- but the layout is definitely not conducive to on-track action.

        1. Personally I thought the 2013–14 layout was perfect for racing . I understand why they changed it since, but I think the changes have actually had the opposite effect (of improving the racing).

  18. I’m sad Sepang’s gone. I loved the layout and the all-round technical and physical challenge it presented. But for the moment it’s the right decision. You can’t justify having a race without fan base. Maybe, if Liberty manages to reverse the trend of declining F1 popularity, the Malaysian GP can return in the future

    1. I never much liked Sepang’s layout. Like nearly all Tilkedromes most of it seemed awkward. There were a number of sections that should have been faster or bypassed.

      1. I thought sector three was a bad attempt at linking the end of the track back to the start. The back-straight is fine, but the corners before that always seemed out of place. Other than that I loved the layout. It had a great mix of corners and fast and slow flows

  19. I wonder whether this will affect Petronas’ future in F1 and how it might then impact on Mercedes. They were involved in F1 before Sepang arrived on the calendar but Malaysia is their main market as far as I’m aware, with Mercedes running special Syntium branding on theirs cars at this event.

    1. You raise a very good point about Patronas. I imagine that their technical involvement with Mercedes has been a key part of their recent success in years. Surely this relationship is set to change in some way.

      1. (success in recent years)

  20. So happy I had the chance to experience attending the GP in 2015. Amazing place… :)

  21. I’ve always wanted to attend this race. It’s this year or never I guess…

  22. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    7th April 2017, 18:24

    Ditch China after the debacle today, renegotiate better terms for KL.

  23. Shame but a hang over form the Bernie era. Still 21 races next year. Would be nice if when contracts are up for renewal citcuits get a fairer deal and maybe we can have somewhere like Imola back.

  24. Was pretty gutted to hear this news. Sepang is one of the best tracks on the calendar, its really unfortunate.

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