SEPANG – After hosting the Formula One (F1) World Championship for 19 years, Sepang International Circuit (SIC) today bid farewell to the once most anticipated car race in the world.
The Malaysian government announced the hard decision to drop the FI race in April, citing the difficulty to bear the high organising cost and declining number of specatators in recent years.
However, some fans hope the government would reconsider putting Malaysia back onto the F1 calendar.
Among them is businessman K. Cerethar, 45, who storngly believes the F1 would return to Sepang in the next few years.
“I can see the rising demand among locals this year, compared to last few years because of the reduced ticket price and marketing by the organisers. About 60 percent of the spectators are Malaysians, which shows the interest for the sport,” he told Bernama when met at the main grandstand, here.
“I’m a hardcore fan of Lewis Hamilton and team Mercedes AMG Petronas. I like to watch F1 because I like the environment,” said the Gemas born, who hopes Hamilton would win his fourth world championship crown.
Sharing the same view is his friend S. Rajamohan, 42, who has witnessed the race for 10 times at Sepang, first during the inaugural 1999 edition.
“I will greatly miss the event. For me, F1 is all about speed, loud sound and unpredictable results, and Sepang is well known for its toughness and challenging weather,” said Rajamohan, who is involved in the book and stationary business.
Hilmi Kadir, who has never missed the opportunity to watch his favourite team compete since the inaugural race in 1999, said a sweaty sweep of the hill to the hillstand are memories that cannot be forgotten.
“Since 1999 I have never missed to see the F1 race and I still remember when I was forced to climb high in high temperatures in order to support my favorite team.
“I’m sorry to say that I’m not sad. I hope the last race of today will be the best in the history of the Malaysian GP,” he said.
M.Samynathan, 46, who has five Malaysian GP races, said for this edition, he has brought his family and friends to share the warmth of F1 racing.
“Previously, because of my interest in F1 racing, I came alone. Considering this is the last race in Malaysia, I persuaded my family and friends to see the race,” he said, hoping the Malaysian Grand Prix would make a return.- BERNAMA