Malaysia's Formula One circuit loses lustre

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - – Malaysia's Sepang Formula One event is losing traction, according to the circuit's boss who admitted the shabby stadium and tropical temperatures have caused ticket sales to plunge.

The Malaysian event has also been outshone by neighbouring Singapore, which offers not just adrenaline-packed night racing on a street circuit, but teams it with live entertainment by big-name performancers like Beyonce.

Razlan Razali, chief executive of the Sepang International Circuit, said that Malaysians increasingly preferred to watch the race on television rather than brave the afternoon heat.

"It has lost its lustre," Razlan said in an interview with AFP.

"Having Singapore next to us for F1 does not help and our biggest competitor is the television as many people prefer to watch the race from the comfort of their homes."

Despite ticket prices going for as low as $19, the cheapest on the F1 circuit, the 13-year-old Sepang event which has a daily capacity of 130,000 has not been pulling in the crowds.

Razlan said that last year just 97,000 people were drawn to the circuit over three days. In 2009 there were 126,000 while 2006 recorded the biggest crowd with 140,000 over three days.

The circuit boss admitted that Sepang is a "tired-looking" venue in urgent need of rejuvenation.

But he said he has received no reply after petitioning the government to fund a major overhaul at a cost of 180 million ringgit (59 million dollars).

Sepang's soaring roof, inspired by the hibiscus which is Malaysia's national flower, need to be replaced as the grandstand canopy has exceeded its lifespan and cannot cope with Malaysia's tropical downpours.

Source: Yahoo News


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