Roof leaks, fewer fans at Sepang F1


Just over a dozen years after it was first opened by Mahathir, the Sepang International Circuit has been plagued by leaking roofs, rubbish and declining attendances.

Apparently, the grand roof needs to be replaced – after only a dozen years, purportedly its life span. (See AFP photo of leaking roof above paddock building here.) The circuit’s boss has admitted there were shortcuts during construction – completed in a “record time” of 14 months – and shoddy maintenance since then. Another pet project under the Mahathir administration that even clinched a Special Project Award at the Malaysian Construction Industry Excellence Awards 2001.

Check out these comments from an AFP report:

Sepang’s soaring roof, inspired by the hibiscus which is Malaysia’s national flower, need to be replaced as the grandstand canopy has exceeded its lifespan and cannot cope with Malaysia’s tropical downpours. (haha, my humble old family house, several decades old, can cope with tropical downpours!)

“When it rains, it leaks. People are not happy. The circuit was built in a record time but unfortunately there were shortcuts and poor maintainance,” (circuit boss Razlan Razali) said.

The sport’s ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone proclaimed Singapore as the “jewel in F1’s crown” when the city-state hosted its first night race in 2008.

But in crushing comments for Malaysia, he likened Sepang to “an old house that needs a bit of redecorating.”

“It’s starting to get a little shabby and looks a bit tired. There is rubbish all over the place and it?s not really a good sign for Malaysia,” Ecclestone said at the time.

From an AFP report in the Jakarta Globe:

“Unfortunately, after three to four years, the track was not very well-maintained,” said Razlan, the chief executive of Sepang International Circuit. “There are areas of the grandstand and the paddock where it leaks during a storm. We experience power trips and mechanical and electrical woes. We need a major overhaul and refurbishment.”

And that could cost RM180 million – to overhaul a circuit that cost US$120 million to build in 1998. Brilliant.

For a different view, read what WCT Berhad, the lead member of the JV responsible for Sepang, says on its website.

The Sepang F1 Circuit was voted the world’s ‘most challenging’ track by F1 drivers and has been rated as one of the world’s best. The Sepang F1 Circuit is a proud achievement by WCT Engineering Berhad, the lead member of the JV among WCT Engineering Berhad, Ahmad Zaki Resources Berhad and Murray & Roberts (M) Sdn Bhd. The state-of-the-art circuit was completed in a record time of 14 months and in recognition of its ultramodern facilities, it is the only circuit in the world allowed to incorporate the F1 logo on its official name.

The Sepang F1 Circuit, from aerial view, signifies a hibiscus, the national flower of Malaysia. The circuit was built in stadium-type concept, with the track recessed in the valley. The circuit has a double frontage grandstand overlooks the two longest straights, which hosts up to 100,000 spectators. This challenging race track is 5.542km with 16m width (up to 25m width at turn 15). There are 15 turns in total, and the longest straight is 927.543m at the start-finish line.

The nature and scope of works for this project involves :
– Earthworks (cut & fill 8,000,000m3, removal of unsuitable materials 600,000m3),
– Landscaping & erosion control (600 acres)
– Race Track (5.542km)
– Grand Stand (Main grandstand – 32,000 seats, natural grandstand – 80,000 to 100,000 seating capacity)
– Buildings (Pit buildings, Welcome centre, medical centre, media centre for 600 journalists, ancillary buildings)
– Concrete Padlock (91,000m2)
– Carpark (30,000 capacity)
– Services road (13.0km)
– Reservoir
– Sewerage System (6.2km)
– Surface Drainage

In recognising this prominent achievement, CIDB, at the Malaysian Construction Industry Excellence Awards 2001, awarded WCTE and its joint venture partners the Special Project Award.

That’s not all. Attendances have been declining over the years, as reported in the earlier AFP report:

2006 – 140,000 over three days
2009 – 126,000
2010 – 97,000

So what do we do with this race track now? I say, cut losses and call it quits. After all, it’s not the most environmentally friendly sport around in this era of climate change and depleting oil reserves, is it.

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Hi Anil
Sorry if this is off- topic. Up to you if you want to post this comment too.
Can you please confirm through your sources if (a certain business paper) is or going to be shut down?
If it is, then the next obvious question is why? And what a sheer waste. (It) is a credible English business paper one of the stables of that company (???) and, has some credible journalists.
Also why is it being hushed up??
Thanks a million.


This is one of Malaysia Boleh spirit : we build/bough it, but we can’t afford to keep it.

… USA government seems favour the US$95++ oil price, so how long do you thin those “grants” and subsidies will continue?

Du Lala

Proton will never collapse so long a.s BN is in control of National Automobile Policy. BN makes foreign cars too expensive for common folks, and have to settle for Proton despite its high price/quality quotient.
BN made you buy Proton as public transportation is either invisible (in most towns outside KL) or inefficient/unreliable.


180m is too much to give up. oh btw, when reno is completed, try RM360m. Thumbs up, BN Boleh.

tan cairong

After so many years by now Malaysia should have learnt that when Singapore goes into some venture, we should immediately quit that field to cut losses. Look at SIA against MAS, Changi Airport against KLIA, MR against Sin$, Pulau Batu Putih, UM against NUS, and now Singapore Night F1 Race against Sepang International Circuit. To make matter worst, in many of these competitions, Malaysian brains contributed much to Singapore’s competitive position. Watch the Sentosa casinos, not only Malaysian manpower is powering their success, we also contribute a large part of their casino patrons bringing Malaysian Ringgit to their economy.


Common guys, I am sure Mahathir didn’t want to build it but the F1 organisers convinced him to. I bet he met people like lks and other opp. mps to discuss about it too.


On another note, last week the radar in KLIA was (allegedly) done and over 60 flights were delayed by hours. This again is the same mentality behind the fiasco in Sepang. How can a radar system in a key airport fail. If such a thing were to happen in Singapore or Heathrow, the air traffic in a whole region will be in chaos. In Malaysia, only a small column in the newspaper. It shows the insignificance of KLIA.


It did. A friend of mine had to sit in the plane for 3 hrs and without aircond.


why in blazes do we need a formula one in Malaysia? we all drive proton wiras. Just how many of us can afford a Ferrari? why have a circuit in sepang anyway? what was wrong with batu tiga?


Gelak k, yes, BN won all the buy elections. What can we expect when one’s brain sudah mati, ya?

Have a nice Sunday anyway !!!

Ong Eu Soon

Najib can turn it into a Demonstration square, anyone not happy with the government or whoever can go there for demonstration. In doing so, you can guarantee high turnout rate, no need for maintenance. It will the first and one only in the world. Another way to get a recognition and award!


Enough is enough. We have seen 53 yaers of excesses and corruptibility by BN and UMNO together with their running …, Gerakan, MIC and MCA etc. We must now kick out that PM… It should start with that white hair


All in the name of syok sendiri ala umno-bn.


(please write comments in small letters, not caps)


As long we can blame it on the mat sallehs we can spend another RM 180m to repair the leaking F1 circuit. Malaysia Boleh


… I think Tun M is now planning another grandiose white elephant project as F1 has lost its lustre when any other country in Asia can host it better.


hi Gelak k, if you have got nothing to say, please tutup mulut,ok ? Thank you. No worry, we all know you are still kicking. Cheers !!!

Gerakan K

Yum seng !!! I have reserve a bottle of red wine for 2 by-elections pending victories. You must be very disappointed after the shocking result of Tenang by-election. Be cheerful, my friend as more shocking results will follow. Always “see open” with continuous failure. And “see open” too for BN achievement such as F1 project, MRT, etc. Just admit it. F1 project by BN have successfully promoted our country and thus our tourism industry. Most people of Malaysia are proud of it, except few retirees and old Ah Beng like you and Anil. What they like are boring activities like… Read more »


As always the poor Malays and Indian will be as gullible with the peanuts and pittance given to them. No wonder 80% of Malays and Indian are still poor.


Way back in April 2007, Formula One Grand supremo Bernie Ecclestone called Malaysia’s Sepang race circuit “shabby” and in need of a clean-up – a statement designed to increase the pressure on Malaysia to keep its spot on the Grand Prix calendar.

Ecclestone’s tactic of running down a circuit is one that he has used before to either drop a race from the F1 calendar or strike a better deal with the organisers.

Looks like Mahathir and son is held ransom once again, thus rakyat’s money will be wasted once again to satify the ego of Malaysia Boleh. Sigh!

najib manaukau

This is only an example of would happen if shenanigan Mahathir had stay on… Just watch all the other mega projects he implemented … some would leak and so on. He now does not have to worry about them but it was his (administration that selected the companies) that built them after all. Malaysians should come out to ask him to have (them) rebuild or repair them, even though we are in the third world but we do not wish to go back to the fourth world…

Bad Taste

Mahathir yet again!!!!

James Bond

OK…how much did you mark up on this to clean out the Malaysian tax payer…. Dont you know that every Malaysian in town will now be including WCT and Mahathir in their nightly prayer that God takes necessary action… There is no way Malaysia can turn this place around… Like KLIA in the jungle, (why KL and not Sepang IA I’ll never know) the F1 will die a natural death in Sepang….the synergy of a large city with its entertainment outlets and watering holes is missing from this action unlike Singapore… This little bit of common sense was absent from… Read more »


“the synergy of a large city with its entertainment outlets and watering holes is missing from this action unlike Singapore”

Yes, well said. Shopping centres are just around the night race tracks. Also you can go gambling at Marina Bay Sands, and book a ticket for ‘The Lion King’ show.

Many of my friends are heading to Singapore as they could go to those watering holes and ‘integrated resorts’ without harrassment.


‘Shorcuts’ in construction is compromising on safety – remember the collapsed stadium?

Anyway to be safe avoid Sepang and watch the race on TV in the comfort of your home. The savings from tickets and transportation can pay for your annual Astro subscription, and can watch subsequent races too.

‘Leaking roof’ is a hallmark of ‘projet oleh kerajaan bn’ as we have previously seen this in the leaking roofs of schools.


Gerakan K. It was BN success to build the F1. But it is a short lived one, like all BN projects. BN projects sparkle but fizzle out quickly after. Go examine the construction behind the beautiful facade and you will know what I mean.

Gerakan K

Thanks for acknowledging BN contribution. Our F1 project is a continuous success. Our Sepang F1 race has global audiences and live broadcasts.

It is not too late for supporting BN.


And our F1 have become second to Singapore, THANKS to the incompetency… of BN & UMNO and the PM, Zero KPI & no makkal sakthi minister not forgetting the porn star.

80% of Malays are still poor even after 30 years of NEP and the Indian fare even worse. Wake up or you will still be the same if not worse even after another 30 years. Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and other Arabs countries are testimonies for you to see.


It is BN-style to have shoddy work so that there will be continuous need for maintenance projects to feed the umnoputera contractors, as a payback for the support during the election.

Gerakan K

Anil, why you are so jealous of BN achievement ???

Are you anti-motor sports ???

Andrew I

But in crushing comments for Malaysia, he likened Sepang to “an old house that needs a bit of redecorating.”

“It’s starting to get a little shabby and looks a bit tired. There is rubbish all over the place and it?s not really a good sign for Malaysia,” Ecclestone said at the time.

You call this an achievement?

Your political masters should sack you….

Andrew I

…and that’s putting it mildly.

Taiwan Can !

See how Taiwan is making it, and Malaysia flops. Taiwan, an island country, never use “Boleh!” to boast itself. But Taiwan is progressing forward while Malaysia is gostan further and further back. Take, for instance, the success of Taiwan’s 3 top Science Park. “Combined revenues generated by the top-three science parks in Taiwan – Hsinchu Science Park (HSP), Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) and Southern Taiwan Science Park (STSP) – totaled NT$2.16 trillion (or RM 216 Billions) in 2010 and are expected to top NT$2.45 trillion (or RM 245 Billions) in 2011, according to Taiwan’s National Science Council (NSC).… Read more »


WCT is the main contractor is Sepang International Circuit


Country Park with a really, really nice cycle path.