Malaysian Grand Prix
The Malaysian Grand Prix has been a part of the Formula One World Championship since 1999 and since 2001 it has been the first event on the F1 calendar. The race is held at the Sepang International Circuit in Sepang, Malaysia, which hosts numerous motorsports events throughout the year.
The Malaysian Grand Prix has been a part of the Formula One World Championships since 1999 but an early form of the Grand Prix was originally held in 1962, as a Formula Two event in Singapore, when Singapore was still a part of the Malaysian Federation.
After Singapore was excluded from the federation in 1965, Malaysia hosted a range of races under the umbrella of the Malaysian Grand Prix, before the inception of the F1 event in 1999.
The 1999 Grand Prix was a controversial affair, seeing the return of Michael Schumacher to the World Championship after being temporarily sidelined from racing after a broken leg in the British Grand Prix earlier that year.
As expected, Schumacher dominated the first part of the race but ultimately it was Schumacher’s Ferrari team-mate and British driver, Eddie Irvine, who finished the race in first place. Astonishingly, however, neither Irvine nor Schumacher were awarded the title but instead were disqualified from the race due to technicalities and the title was handed to third place Finnish driver, Mika Hakkinen.
Weather conditions have always been unpredictable at the Malaysian Grand Prix, ranging from blistering heat to tropical rainstorms. In 2001 rain was the problem, when a storm hit Sepang part way through the race.
The rain made the track extremely treacherous and at one point Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello both spun off a corner at almost exactly the same time. Miraculously both Ferraris recovered from the spin and Schumacher took the title with Barrichello finishing in second place.
The 2003 race was not so lucky for Schumacher after he attempted to overtake Juno Trulli at the beginning of the race, causing Trulli to spin and earning himself a stop-go penalty. He dropped to the back of the pack and it was Finnish driver, Kimi Raikkonen, who ended the race in triumph.
Three years later, in the 2006 race, Raikkonen came to a premature end when he was hit by Christian Klien. Klien retired from the race shortly after with hydraulics problems and both Rosberg and Webber also pulled out early due to technical difficulties with their cars.
2007 was the year of British F1 rookie, Lewis Hamilton. Although Brazilian driver, Felippe Massa, started the race from pole position, it was Hamilton and his McLaren team-mate, Fernando Alonso, who dominated the race. Alonso finished first with Hamilton placing a respectable second, later describing the Malaysian Grand Prix as his hardest race to date.
The Sepang Circuit is located approximately 60km from Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, and many consider it to be one of the most impressive circuits in the world, boasting excellent viewing facilities, a state of the art pit garage and even an on-site shopping mall. Designed by German architect, Herman Tilke, who recently designed circuits for the Bahrain and Turkish Grand Prixs, the track is an unusual layout with wide straights and sweeping corners. With a capacity of 130,000 spectators, the stadium allows spectators to see at least fifty percent of the race at any one time.
In 1999 the circuit was named the Best Grand Prix Circuit of the year and since then it has been deemed the most challenging circuit included in the F1 World Championship. Beginning with a long straight, the fastest part of the track, the main circuit, is raced in a clockwise direction and is split into two smaller tracks known as the north and south circuits.
The final corner of the north circuit is turn 6 where it turns back towards the pit straight, covering a distance of 2.71 km. The south circuit joins the main circuit at turn eight, forming a hairpin bend and covers a distance of 2.61 km.
The main circuit covers a total distance of 5.543 km and includes fifteen challenging corners and six straights. Unusually only one of the turns is classed as a tight hairpin and instead the circuit is known for its smooth sweeping turns which allow drivers to reach speeds of 200kph.
The Sepang circuit was designed to be environmentally friendly with 5,000 palms trees and 4,000 coconut trees planted on its inception. It aims to blend modern technology with Malaysian culture, reflected by the roof of the grandstand which was designed in the shape of a hibiscus, the Malaysian national flower.
Despite its luxurious facilities and top-class track, complaints have recently been made about the circuit with regards to the state of the track and its surrounding area. Many drivers have highlighted the unevenness of the track, which is thought to be due to the circuit being built on a former swamp, causing the track to sink in places.
Other complaints have been made about the circuit’s surrounding area which is said to be shabby and littered with rubbish. In response to the complaints, organisers of the Malaysian Grand Prix are set to make further developments to the track over the coming years.
As well as giving the circuit a spring clean, a floodlighting system is going to be introduced to allow night racing at the circuit. If completed, the Malaysian Grand Prix will be one of only two night races on the F1 calendar.
Below is a list of Grand Prix winners since its inception in Singapore in 1962:
- 2007: Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren-Mercedes
- 2006: Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) Renault
- 2005: Fernando Alonso (Spain) Renault
- 2004: Michael Schumacher (Germany) Ferrari
- 2003: Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) McLaren-Mercedes
- 2002: Ralf Schumacher (Germany) Williams-BMW
- 2001: Michael Schumacher (Germany) Ferrari
- 2000: Michael Schumacher (Germany) Ferrari
- 1999: Mika Hakinnen (Finland) Lotus
- 1995: Paul Stokell (Australia) Reynard-Holden
- 1982: Andrew Miedecke (Australia) Ralt-Ford
- 1981: Andrew Miedecke (Australia) Ralt-Ford
- 1980: Steve Millen (New Zealand) Ralt-Ford
- 1979: Kenny Smith (New Zealand) March-Ford
- 1978: Graeme Lawrence (New Zealand) March-Ford
- 1977: Patrick Tambay (France) March-BMW
- 1975: John Macdonald (Hong Kong) Ralt-Ford
- 1973: John Macdonald (Hong Kong) Brabham-Ford
- 1972: Sonny Rajah (Malaysia) March-Ford
- 1971: John Macdonald (Hong Kong) Brabham-Ford
- 1970: John Macdonald (Hong Kong) Brabham-Ford
- 1969: Tony Maw (Malaysia) Elfin-Ford
- 1968: Hengkie Iriawan (Indonesia) Elfin-Ford
- 1965: Albert Poon (Hong Kong) Lotus
- 1963: Albert Poon (Hong Kong) Lotus
- 1962: Yong Nam Kee (Singapore) Jaguar
Tickets for the Malaysian Grand Prix can be bought by email (email@example.com) at the following prices (prices listed in Malaysian Ringgit: £1 = 6.3 RM)
Mall Area Upper Tier
- Diamond: 1950 RM
- Sapphire: 1600 RM
- Emerald: 1700 RM
- Ruby: 1450 RM
- Topaz: 1000 RM
Mall Area Lower Tier
- Crystal: 1200 RM
- Turquoise: 1100 RM
- Jade: 1000 RM
- Garnet: 800 RM
- Citrine: 700 RM
- Tower 1: 1000 RM
- South: 1000 RM
- North: 1000 RM
- K1 Platinum: 1100 RM
- K1 Gold: 800 RM
- F Platinum: 800 RM
- F Gold: 600 RM
- C2: 200 RM
- E: 100 RM
- G: 100 RM
- K2: 100 RM
- C1: 100 RM
- C3: 100 RM
The Sepang International Circuit is located approximately 60 km from Kuala Lumpur, the country’s capital and just 15 km from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The circuit is accessible by road and public transport:
By Road: From Kuala Lumpur take the North-South highway towards the Kuala Lumpur International Airport interchange (or any other major highway towards the airport) After the toll station take the first left off the highway with the mosque on the left-hand side. Go straight ahead at the roundabout and after approximately 8km turn left at the traffic lights. From there follow the signs to the circuit.
By Public Transport: Regular trains run from Kuala Lumpur and Seremban. Nilai is the nearest train station to the circuit and from there a regular bus service runs to and from Sepang.
For information about the Grand Prix contact:
Address: Sepang International Circuit Sdn. Bhd.
Selangor Darul Ehsan