Lewis Hamilton on Tuesday said F1’s “toughest race” will be missing on next year’s calendar.
He is referring to Malaysia, where after almost 20 years in formula one the government has decided that 2017 will be the last race at the Sepang circuit.
Next weekend – Malaysian Grand Prix will be the last, following a joint decision by both F1 and Sepang circuit management not to renew their contract after 2017.
Sepang has become known as one of the hardest races physically for the drivers, thanks to its long fast corners and Malaysia’s heat, humidity and often torrential rain.
“It is definitely sad to think this is our last race (here),” said the Briton at an event in Kuala Lumpur for Petronas, Mercedes’ title sponsor.
“They are taking away one of the toughest, if not the toughest race of the season and it will be hard to replace,” Hamilton added.
Formula 1’s managing director of commercial operations Sean Bratches said in a statement on last April: “It’s always sad to say goodbye to a member of the Formula 1 family.
“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.”