In a report late last week, Reuters stated that Petronas is planning to revive the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix race in 2026.
However, this and several other such media reports have been dismissed by Petronas as false.
Citing unidentified sources, Reuters last week suggested that Petronas–the state-owned oil and gas firm–intends to return to F1 racing, but that the event may not take place at the country’s signature Sepang International Circuit (SIC). It stated that Tengku Taufik Aziz, the company’s president and CEO, conducted a town hall meeting where this information was disclosed.
In a news release, Petronas downplayed the speculation.
The company stated, “We would like to confirm that there have been no discussions on bringing the sport back to the Petronas Sepang International Circuit (SIC).” Formula One, which frequently receives inquiries from prospective race hosts worldwide, remained silent over the report.
The sports minister for Malaysia, Hannah Yeoh, stated last year that holding an F1 race is “very expensive” and that “we can’t afford to have races right now, but if we could host an F1 race, we already would have done it.” Sepang does still however host GT races, MotoGP races and several other local racing and club events.
The ‘Formula 1: Drive to Survive’ Netflix TV series and the competition among nations to host the races in order to increase awareness, encourage tourism, and stimulate their economies have contributed to the sport’s current global expansion in popularity.
In 2017, Max Verstappen of Red Bull won the final Malaysian F1 race, and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes won the driver’s title.
Since 2010, eight world titles for constructors and seven for drivers have come from Petronas’ sponsorship of the Mercedes team.
It certainly is a shame that even with the huge growth in popularity in F1 over the last 5 years thanks to Netflix’s Drive to Survive series, the Malaysian racing establishment could not manage a local race. Let’s hope that Petronas, who sponsors the Mercedes-AMG F1 team, can find a way to bring F1 back to Sepang, and soon.