Oh shibby.

Following the news that Singapore may not renew its Formula One (F1) contract, it has now been confirmed that Malaysia will stop hosting the race in Sepang after its current agreement expires in 2018.

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This was confirmed by Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz yesterday (Monday, 21st November 2016).

The decision was made due to poor ticket sales and the costliness of hosting the race. This year’s race also saw the lowest race-day TV viewing figures in the event’s history. “I don’t think there is anywhere in the world the number of spectators for F1 has increased,” Nazri was quoted as saying.

“The current agreement is from 2016 to 2018. So once that ends, there will be no more (F1 in Malaysia). F1 attendance is dropping and there is less attraction now. We are spending RM300 million a year (for the race),” Nazri added.

F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia Red Bull

The race at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit (SIC) was the first Southeast Asian race on the calendar. It has been a fixture on the F1 calendar every year since 1999 and is Asia’s second-oldest next to the Japanese Grand Prix, which dates back to 1976.

Alas, competition from neighbouring countries, such as Singapore’s Grand Prix aka F1 Night Race, has seriously affected the Malaysian GP’s figures. This is despite efforts to boost the Malaysian leg of the race with various events and star-studded performances e.g. SNSD Girls’ Generation, SHINee, Usher, etc.

Last month, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin took to his Twitter to express his thoughts on taking a temporary break from hosting F1, citing high costs and limited returns.

By contrast, Malaysia’s MotoGP, which is also hosted at SIC, is consistently popular and this year’s race was sold out. Sepang agreed last month to extend the MotoGP until at least 2021.

Is anyone else bummed out that Malaysia will no longer host “the world’s hottest race”? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Sources: motorsport.com, CNA, NST, Khairy KJ.

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Lainey
Eats, sleeps, & breathes music, but drinks mostly coffee & okay, some wine - sometimes, a little too much. A little too obsessed with the number seven, is deathly afraid of horror movies, believes that she writes better than she speaks, & currently feeling a little strange writing a profile about herself.