F1 organiser eyes awardBY AUDREY EDWARDS
PETALING JAYA: The F1 extravaganza is only in March but Sepang International Circuit (SIC), organiser of the 2003 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix, has already increased its preparations to clinch the FIA’s Award for Best Organiser this year.
SIC was judged the Best Organiser when it hosted the F1 for the first time in 1999.
“We will do everything possible this year to win it again. Everyone has agreed to do it,” said its national press officer Azhar Ghazali.
“We are aiming for a 100,000-strong crowd that Sunday,” he said after a main co-ordinating committee meeting at the Sepang F1 Circuit, chaired by SIC chairman Tan Sri Basir Ismail yesterday.
Those who attended the meeting included representatives from the police, Malaysian Association of Hotels, Petronas Motorsports, the Immigration Department, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents and a medical team.
Azhar said all stakeholders have been told to give their best for the event, which would be for three days from March 21.
Malaysia is again hosting the second leg of the 17-round FIA World F1 Grand Prix Championship.
Several programmes will be held across the country and overseas as a run-up to the event, starting with a grand launch at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur today.
The promotional blitz will cover Penang, Johor Baru, Ipoh, Malacca and Kuching as well as venues abroad, including Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand, China and the Middle East.
Azhar said the KLIA Ekspres will serve as an additional mode of public transport for race enthusiasts this year.
“Hotels have been asked not to overprice their rooms,” he added.
Malaysian fans will be among the first to see the changes made by the FIA at the end of last year.
They include drivers being allowed to do just one flying lap each to secure pole position, slots for the qualifying session on Saturday being determined by the times set on Friday, the fastest on Friday being the last out on Friday and a revised system of awarding points to the top eight finishers instead of six.
SIC is currently offering a five per cent discount on all tickets bought till Jan 20 except for the special Sunday race day tickets, which will cost RM100 each.
BMW-Williams driver Ralf Shumacher won last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
His brother Michael, who drives for Ferrari, was crowned world champion for the fifth time.
Ferrari also won the constructors' championship.