Malaysia seeks Singapore F1 double-header

Daniel Ricciardo during the Malaysian GP at Sepang last year

Daniel Ricciardo during the Malaysian GP at Sepang last year

Grand Prix svengali Bernie Ecclestone will consider shifting the date of the Malaysian F1 race to later in the year as the Sepang circuit negotiates a contract renewal.

Sepang’s current contract finishes after this year’s event, scheduled two weeks after the season opener at Albert Park in Melbourne next month.

A recent meeting between Sepang International Circuit chief executive Datuk Razlan Razali and Ecclestone in his London office discussed the possibility of twinning Malaysia with Singapore in September.

“In the event that we extend, we want to be flexible and advise Mr Ecclestone when we want to be on the calendar,” Razlan told Speedcafe.com

“It could be a back-to-back with Singapore.

“It would create more value for fans around the world to watch in Asia back-to-back.

“I don’t think it would affect our crowd as the two events have their own character.”

Razlan, who was interviewed by Speedcafe.com while he was in Australia promoting the Sepang F1 race, said he conveyed the importance of having a decent undercard of support categories on the grand prix weekend to Ecclestone.

“For us, the lack of support races does not give a wholesome racing experience,” Razlan said.

“We know how to promote our event in our country and he (Ecclestone) needs to be flexible.

“One of the key things also for Mr Ecclestone to look at is the support races that are available.

“Compared to MotoGP which has three great classes, F1 is it and there is no other racing that people can look forward to.

“You have fans following riders in Moto3 and in Moto2 and all the way to MotoGP.

“So if we had a support race like GP3 and GP2 that follows F1 through Europe then you create fans who follow the young drivers coming through.”

Razlan said he is hopeful of firming up a contract extension in the next month.

However he did not hide his displeasure at the 2015 F1 grid dwindling to 18 cars with the demise of Caterham and Marussia.

“For an F1 World Championship with 18 cars and the amount of money that we are paying that is not great,” Razlan said.

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