Malaysian officials are playing down speculation that the grand prix at Sepang might fall off F1’s annual calendar after its current contract expires in 2010.
It was reported recently that the southeast Asian country’s government might not want to fund an extension to the deal due to the depletion of the Malaysian currency, the Ringgit.
But the purpose-built circuit’s press officer insisted that Malaysia, after first hosting the sport in 1999, is likely to be one of the circus’ permanent stops.
“Negotiations for the extension of the contract had already begun in November when a delegation led by the (Malaysian) sports minister met with formula one supremo Bernie Ecclestone in London,” Sepang’s Azhar Ghazali is quoted as telling the Singapore newspaper Straits Times.
He added: “That was a preliminary discussion and more negotiations will follow, but thus far indications are that the Malaysian grand prix is set to remain.”