Singapore GP may continue, but Malaysia set to leave after 2018

The field heads into Turn 1 for the 2016 Singapore GP, which was quickly placed under the safety car for Nico Hulkenberg's incident. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Lars Baron/Getty Images

Bernie Ecclestone said Monday he is working to keep F1 in Singapore.

Earlier, the F1 supremo had been quoted by a German magazine as revealing that because the city-state had reached its objections with the spectacular night race, it no longer wanted to be on the calendar.

But Ecclestone told the Straits Times: “Everybody is happy to be in Singapore and (we) don't want to lose Singapore.”

As for the controversial quote with Auto Motor und Sport, the 86-year-old Briton said: “My words were taken in a funny way. What I said was simple — no decision has been taken yet.

“Negotiations are ongoing and will be sorted out shortly — before the end of the year, I'm sure. We want to extend long-term. We'll see what happens.”

Meanwhile, Malaysia is set to host its 20th and final grand prix at Sepang in 2018.

The country's tourism minister Nazri Abdul Aziz told the state-run Bernama news agency that the decision had been taken for financial reasons.

“We spend 300 million ringgit ($68m) per year but are not getting 300 million back,” he said. “There are no returns on the grand prix.”

He also admitted that local crowd numbers are down because “I think the people have lost interest,” but said that is not a phenomenon that is unique to Malaysia.

“I don't think there is anywhere in the world where the number of spectators for F1 has increased,” Nazri said.