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Sepang claims to have 5-year extension

NEWS STORY
23/04/2007

According to reports, organizers of the Malaysia Grand Prix have signed a new deal which will keep Sepang on the Formula One calendar until 2015. This comes after Bernie Ecclestone confirmed that having taken over the role of promoter at the Istanbul Park Circuit, Turkey retains its F1 race until 2021.

The French news agency AFP reports that Mokhzani Mahathir, chairman of the Sepang International Circuit has told it that the circuit has signed a five-year extension on top of its current contract which currently runs to 2010.

Although there have been fears that Malaysia would be the first to suffer should the proposed Singapore Grand Prix go ahead, officials at Sepang and even Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, have made it clear that they want the country to remain part of the F1 calendar.

"We have secured a five-year extension from 2011 to 2015," Mokhzani Mahathir, told AFP at the weekend.

Referring to Bernie Ecclestone's recent comments that the facility has become "shabby" and needs a "tidy up", Mokhzani said that there are plans for a major upgrade, even though the circuit hosted its first Grand Prix in 1999, including an "automotive-related theme park with bike and go-kart tracks."

Other than Mokhzani's comments to AFP, there is still no official comment regarding the claims. However, it is highly unlikely that as he seeks new avenues into the east, Ecclestone would want to lose one of the first countries to become part of his very own 'my earth dream'.

It has already been stressed that if - make that 'when' - Singapore does become part of the calendar it will not be in competition with Malaysia and the events will take place at opposite ends of the season.

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