As Malaysia still struggles to determine the fate of flight MH370, the search and rescue operations media center is being moved to the Putra World Trade Center in Kuala Lumpur this week to make room for the Formula 1 series who have booked the Sama-Sama Hotel and media center.

The Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200ER mysteriously disappeared on March 8, 2014 with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board. The missing flight was bound for Beijing. The search has been continuous for 16 days now but has failed to locate the missing jet.

Formula 1 pulls into town under the unfortunate crisis in order to run the Malaysian Grand Prix and this has caused Chinese relatives of the passengers of missing flight MH370 to change hotels in order to accommodate the F1 teams and drivers.

“We will be moving out of here because the F1 race is going to go on,” Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told Reuters.

The grand prix was first held in 1999 at the Sepang International Circuit that is about 10 minutes from the airport. Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine won the inaugural grand prix in 1999 but Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel are all three-time winners of the race. Schumacher had just returned to the sport after suffering a broken leg to prove that he was not only the sport’s best number one driver but the best number two driver in support of Irvine in 1999.

No doubt there are other hotels but I can’t imagine the relatives of those missing are very happy about the inconvenience and this is ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix in a few weeks time in Shanghai. Crisis can sometimes shed reality on events that seem inconsequential given the gravity of the situation and yet Malaysia relies on the income and tourism the race generates as they have made a large investment in the hosting fees for the grand prix.

Having said that, I am sure the F1 community is very concerned about the situation in Malaysia and will honor those grieving during the grand prix weekend and more.

An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Husker

    I’d like to point you all in the direction of this excellent piece written by Will Buxton on the matter:

    No ones fault really, but a very uncomfortable situation for everyone involved. F1 isn’t kicking them out. The hotel personnel could not have foreseen the families to be there for almost three weeks.

    Is relocating the families the best option? I honestly think it is unless everyone involved in the GP is prepared to cancel it, which lets be honest, isn’t going to happen.

    Hope the search teams find the remains of the plane soon so the families of the deceased can begin the closure and healing process.

  • I am currently in Penang in Malaysia in the lead up to heading to KL on Thursday for next weeks race.
    The locals here are concerned about it and will proudly tell you the Pilot was a local and a good man. Though that is followed up but many of them talking about someone putting a hex on him recently.
    It is school holidays here, the locals also say it is a little quieter than usual and blame in on the missing plane. It is front page news every day, even when there isn’t really any new news to report. It isn’t the post 911 fan fair with support ribbons everywhere but you do see things like at Starbucks where a waiter had hand written on every single cup “Pray for flight MH370”.

    I am sure it is very sad for all the families involved, but MH370 is clearly not in KL. If this sighted wreckage near home (Perth) turns out to be the plane, families would be much better off in a place like Beijing. You would still catch a plane to Perth before they could tow any wreckage there AND with the Future Music Festival held this weekend and the F1 next weekend in KL flights out would be hard to book last minute.
    Still I can’t imagine that being an easy sell to devastated family members.

  • The event forces the relocation as the rooms and media center were all booked. I didn’t say that F1 forced grieving families by physical force, it’s just the situation and coincidence of two events. I’m sure the families felt inconvenienced but there is not much that can be done. Will’s piece states that headlines saying “forced” “booted” etc are strong words and fair enough, but I think the situation and calendar forces everyone’s hand and concessions were made. I also think F1 is very sensitive about the situation as are the press and support personnel involved. Not suggesting this is a heartless move on evil F1 to throw people to the curb, not in the slightest.

    • I see that Merc are running #prayformh370 stickers on their cars this week along with Petronas.