Red Bull has announced that the current season of its Air Race World Championship will be the last.
The company said on Wednesday it had decided not to continue the competition beyond 2019.
“The Red Bull Air Race provided sports entertainment of highest quality but did not attract the level of outside interest as many other Red Bull events across the world,” the company said in a statement.
“Red Bull thanks the pilots, their teams, partners, the host cities as well as the Red Bull employees for all they have done to make these enjoyable and memorable events.
There were three more races scheduled in 2019, to be held in Kazan in the Russian Federation on 15-16 June, Lake Balaton in Hungary on 13-14 July and Chiba in Japan on 7-8 September.
Matt Hall Racing, which is the team behind Australia pilot Matt Hall, said it was disappointed that this would be the final season of a sport which “had significant potential to succeed”.
“Matt Hall Racing wish to express their gratitude to Red Bull for the opportunity to compete at the top level of aviation for the past eight seasons,” Matt Hall Racing said in a statement.
“With three races remaining in 2019, Matt Hall Racing will endeavour to finish their time in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship as race-winning contenders.
“As always, the team will pride itself in being hard, but fair competitors capable of excelling in a high-pressure environment.”
The Red Bull Air Race was launched in 2003 and involved pilots navigating their way through an obstacle course.
In 2010, Brazil’s Adilson Kindlemann crashed his plane during a training run ahead of a race in Perth. It has been the only crash in the competition’s history.
The incident prompted Red Bull to cancel the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons and bring in new safety measures.
The competition resumed in 2014.
Hall, who joined the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in 2009, has finished runner-up in the competition three times – in 2015, 2016 and 2018. The former Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18 Hornet fighter pilot also placed third in 2009.
For the 2019 season, Hall currently sits fifth with 14 points after the opening round in the United Arab Emirates with 14 points. Japan’s Youhihide Muroya is the competition leader with 28 points.
VIDEO: Highlights from the first round of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in Abu Dhabi from the Red Bull Air Race YouTube channel.
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