F1-Malaysia split brought forward to 2017


The 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix will be Formula One's last trip to the Sepang International Circuit, it was confirmed on Friday.

Event organisers revealed in November that dwindling ticket sales, and a preference for MotoGP, had prompted a decision to walk away from F1 when their contract ended in 2018.

Last year's Malaysian Grand Prix proved pivotal as Lewis Hamilton's engine blow-out gave control of the title race to Nico Rosberg, who would ultimately pip his Mercedes team-mate to championship glory.

But the separation has been brought forward a year, with returns to France and Germany giving F1 an already expanded schedule in 2018.

"It's always sad to say goodbye to a member of the Formula One family," F1 commercial manager Sean Bratches said. "Over nearly two decades, the Malaysian Formula 1 fans have proven themselves to be some of the sport's most passionate supporters.

"As we said in Melbourne, we have big plans for bringing our global fan base closer to the sport than ever before, providing an enhanced digital experience and creating new events. We're looking forward to talking more about these plans as the season progresses.

"We will have 21 exciting events to look forward to in the 2018 calendar, with the additions of the French and German races. 

"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the Sepang International Circuit for their hospitality and professionalism over the years, and their ongoing commitment to motorsport."