Malaysia drops F1 night race due to high cost

Malaysia will not hold a Formula 1 night race over the remaining years of its contract because of the high costs.

Written by Associated Press | Kuala Lumpur | Published:February 20, 2009 3:38 pm

Malaysia will not hold a Formula 1 night race over the remaining years of its contract because of the high costs,electing instead to continue the twilight race model to begin this season.

The Malaysian Grand Prix will be held two hours later at 5 pm local time on April 5,making it easier for European viewers to watch the race and cooler for spectators in this tropical Southeast Asian country,said Irwan Rahman,a spokesman for organizer Sepang International Circuit.

“The benefit should still be there… There are no contracts that we have to do night races,” he said.

The Malaysian government,encouraged by F1 organizers,considered a night race. Rahman said installing a lighting system to illuminate the circuit,at a cost estimated at USD 5.77 million,was too expensive,and there was no guarantee that it would increase the revenue.

Sepang still hopes to attract the maximum 130,000 viewers to the circuit through package offers for the 2009 season’s second race,following another twilight event in Melbourne,Australia,on March 29.

The current contract for Malaysia to hold a grand prix runs until 2015. The country first hosted Formula 1 in 1999.

Neighbouring Singapore held the first ever F1 night race last year,putting pressure on other Grands Prix in the region to do the same.

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