Malaysia to stage Formula One GP until 2018

Malaysia will continue to host a Formula One race until at least 2018, after the country’s government struck a new three-year agreement with Formula One Management.

Confirmation of the new deal came from the prime minister’s office as Sebastian Vettel crossed the line to win Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit, the facility funded and built by the government in the late-1990s specifically to host Formula One.

Malaysia’s existing race agreement ran out after the 2015 race, which was attended by just over 44,000 fans on Sunday. Negotiations over an extension have been ongoing for several months, with Malaysia’s government understood to have made a close examination of the economic model underpinning what is the country’s largest annual sporting event.

Petronas, the event’s long-time sponsor, has renewed its contract to continue as title partner of the Grand Prix for a further three years.

Malaysia first hosted a Grand Prix in 1999 and is considered the first of the new generation races, where funding is provided almost exclusively by the national government. No financial details of the new agreement were revealed.

Vettel’s victory, his first for Ferrari, was his fourth at Sepang International Circuit, located on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur and close to the city’s international airport. Sepang also hosts a round of the MotoGP world championship each year and a variety of domestic and regional motorsport events.

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