Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sepang to remain on calendar until 2015

Malaysia will continue to host a Formula One Grand Prix until 2015, following the signing of a new agreement between the country's Motorsport Comission and Formula One Management (FOM). Although it was announced four months ago that the race would continue, no official deal had actually been signed. But any doubts as to the race's future beyond 2010 have now been laid to rest after FOM, run by Bernie Ecclestone, and the race organisers, reached a formal deal.

"It is very pleasing to note that the Government has reaffirmed its commitment to Formula One, this will not only provide long term benefits to tourism," said Azman Yahya, the Malaysian Motorsports Comission's chairman.

"It will also help us in expanding the already substantial motor sport industry in line with the Government's objective of turning Malaysia into a regional hub for motorsport."

One possibility is that the race will be held at night in a bid to fuel Ecclestone's desire to see events held at times kinder to European TV viewers. That possibility had not existed in the previous agreement. The track chairman though, Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir, said that a huge lighting system, which had yet to be approved, would have to be installed to make this a reality.

"FIA has not told us about the specifications for the night race," he said. "They have engaged a company, which would be conducting a test in Paul Ricard Circuit in September."

Malaysia has held a Formula One race since 1999. Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver in the race's history with three wins

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