Thursday March 22nd, 2001
Officials at the Sepang circuit are keen to keep the Malaysian Grand Prix in March, despite poor attendances at last weekend's race.
Sepang has secured the rights to host the Malaysian Grand Prix until 2010 and the race was run for the first time in March this year, after originally being held at the end of the season in October.
The circuit, however, struggled to draw in crowds for this year's race and has been suffering a downturn in attendance coupled with an associated drop in finances.
But officials at the Sepang circuit are hoping a steady date will increase interest in the race and bring in the funds before it is too late.
"It is better to stay to one date," said a circuit spokesperson. "And we are trying to keep the March date for all the events."
With a switch from the end of season last year to the second race of the season for 2001, the Malaysian races were virtually back-to-back, and the lack of time available to promote this year's event was blamed for the poor attendance.
The circuit spokesperson admitted that Sepang had failed to break even once again, and said: "It was still a loss but this year was a transition period and hopefully next year will be better.
"The event is promoted as a national event more to promote Malaysia and get people to hear about Malaysia. So from a company perspective it was a loss, but it was a national gain."
Although not able to comment on fears that the circuit is in financial trouble, the spokesperson hinted as such by adding: "The past three events were not in profit."
Next year's race will be probably held on March 17, and that gives the race organisers plenty of time to promote the race.