It doesn’t help the future of the sport making a return someday, when the head honcho of the only track in the world with the F1 name in it, says that SIC wouldn’t want to host the Formula 1 again “even if it was for free”. Wow…
Yeah, we couldn’t believe that tasty sound-byte either, but that’s exactly what Datuk Razlan Razali said recently, and in a way he has a point.
It costs us close to $70 million (US dollars not Ringgit) to host the F1 at the Sepang F1 Circuit, and in recent years the interest in the sport, which results directly in attendance numbers, has been on the decline. I blame it squarely on the swap to 1.6 turbo engines. Everyone misses this V10 howl:
I was there at the first F1 race in 1999, so it seem poignant for me to attend the last F1 race that Sepang would host, and in many ways that title above sums up what I feel about the Formula 1 and what it means to SIC and the country in general.
Maybe “need” is too strong a word to use, it’s all right-brain versus left-brain stuff actually. Fiscally, it’s a bad business proposition, but insofar as an international motorsports activity is concerned, there’s not much else that comes close to F1, except maybe MotoGP and thankfully, we still have that at least.
From what I saw over the weekend, interest in the sport may be declining globally, but that wasn’t evident in the crowds that thronged SIC on this F1 race weekend. From the first one in 1999, to this last one in 2017, I saw the same thing; massive crowds of F1 fans thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? After all, isn’t F1 billed as the ‘greatest show on earth’, and isn’t that what we wanted in the first place, something that would put us on the international motorsports map? Here’s 6min of race highlights from Sunday’s final F1 race in Sepang, for you to be the judge if it’s ‘worth it’ to host this spectacle:
The most epic moment for me was Vettel being crowned Driver of the Day. An accolade well earned for charging up the field from starting dead last, to 4th. Sadly as seen in the video below, his cool-down lap could have gone a lot better…
So is it game-over for SIC? Can it really survive on just ONE major international motorsport event a year in the form of MotoGP? Only time will tell of course, and it is my greatest hope that the track doesn’t end up as a proverbial ‘white elephant’… or worse, the way Batu Tiga left us.
Recommended F1 Photo Gallery: Evo Malaysia.
Video Source: Formula 1 @ YouTube
Featured Image: Beng Lim @ Evo Malaysia