Malaysia will play host to its final Formula 1 race in October after a mutual agreement was struck between officials at the Sepang International Circuit and the sport’s chiefs to scrap the race for 2018.
Malaysia first joined the F1 calendar back in 1999, signalling the start of the sport’s focused expansion into Asia, and featured in the early part of the year between 2001 and 2015.
The race shifted to a fall date for 2016 in a bid to ease falling attendance figures, but officials at Sepang said they were unsure about extending the F1 contract beyond its expiration in 2018.
A decision has now been taken to end the deal with one year remaining as F1 issued a statement on Friday confirming that the 2017 race in Malaysia would be the last.
“It’s always sad to say goodbye to a member of the Formula 1 family. Over nearly two decades, the Malaysian Formula 1 fans have proven themselves to be some of the sport’s most passionate supporters,” F1’s recently-apointed commercial boss Sean Bratches said.
“As we said in Melbourne, we have big plans for bringing our global fan base closer to the sport than ever before, providing an enhanced digital experience and creating new events. We’re looking forward to talking more about these plans as the season progresses.
“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.”
The news comes at a time when F1’s new owner, Liberty Media, is beginning to put plans in place for its future calendar, with an increased focus on the United States and city races expected.
The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.
IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.
This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.
INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists
IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.
“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.
“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.