SINGAPORE (Nov 21): Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone has clarified the comments he made to a German magazine, which fuelled speculation that Singapore may not be extending its contract to host the F1 Grand Prix race beyond 2017.

The clarification comes as Malaysia's Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz confirmed that Sepang will cease to be one of the circuits on the F1 Grand Prix annual calendar from 2018.

In an exclusive phone interview with The Straits Times on Monday evening, Ecclestone was reported as saying: "F1's stand is to hopefully continue in Singapore. Everybody is happy to be in SIngapore and (we) don't want to lose Singapore."

On Monday, Malay Mail Online reported Nazri as saying that once the current agreement between F1 and Malaysia expires in 2018, it will not be renewed.

"The current agreement is from 2016 to 2018. So once that ends, there will be no more (F1 in Malaysia)" Nazri told reporters in Parliament.

Earlier on Sunday, German magazine Auto Motor Und Sport had published an interview with Ecclestone who blasted Singapore, among others, for having “no gratitude”.

"Look at what we have done for Singapore. Yes, the Grand Prix has cost Singapore a lot of money, but we've also given them a lot of money," Ecclestone was reported as saying.

"Singapore was suddenly more than just an airport to fly to or from somewhere. Now they believe they have reached their goal and they do not want a Grand Prix anymore," he added.

Asked about this by ST, Ecclestone said: "My words were taken in a funny way. What I said was simple -- no decision has been taken yet."

A Singapore GP spokesperson said on Sunday that it does not comment on ongoing negotiations.

Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran in September said that talks were underway regarding an extension of the hosting agreement, but that no decision had been taken.

The Singapore Grand Prix saw attendance fall 15% over the three-day race weekend this year at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Since 2008, official figures show F1 has lost some 200 million TV viewers globally.