Formula One calendar shake up: Malaysia falls off 2018 calendar as new owner wants to get fans "closer to the sport"

 
Oliver Gill
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Ferrari Brazilian's driver Felipe Massa
Felipe Massa was the last person to win the French Grand Prix, which is to return to the Formula One calendar next year (Source: Getty)

Formula One is to drop the Malaysian Grand Prix from next year's calendar, as the sport's new owners push to broaden its fan base.

An announcement was made this morning that the Sepang International Circuit will feature for the last time at the start of October.

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“It’s always sad to say goodbye to a member of the Formula One family,” said Formula One commercial operations MD Sean Bratches, adding: "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.

Malaysia's home for Grand Prix first featured in 1999 after the government funded the building the circuit. Such a model was subsequently copied by the likes of China, Russia, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Azerbaijan.

Euro return

Bratches also added that there will be 21 races in 2018 with circuits in Germany and France returning to the fold.

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Germany is not on the 2017 calendar after financial complications meant it was taking a year's break. This was despite Formula One having a German champion in Nico Rosberg who drove a German car in Mercedes.

Despite its heritage in motorsport, France's return will cap a 10-year break from Formula One. The first ever Grand Prix the country hosted was in 1906 and was almost ever present until 2008. Next year's race will take place at Circuit Paul Ricard, situated near to Marseilles.

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