Malaysia drops F1 night race plans due to cost
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.Updated: Feb 20, 2009 09:30 IST
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 (0900GMT) on Apr 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 20 million ringgit ($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 Mar 29.
The current contract for Malaysia to hold a grand prix runs until 2015. The country first hosted Formula 1 in 1999. Neighboring Singapore held the first ever F1 night race last year, putting pressure on other grands prix in the region to do the same.
The addition of Singapore, two races in the United Arab Emirates and the eagerness to return to the United States means many races are under pressure to lift viewing figures and maintain their place on the season calendar.
First Published: Feb 20, 2009 09:29 IST