The Sepgang Circuit:
The first Malaysian Grand Prix was held in 1999 and Ferrari romped off with a dominant one two with Eddie Irvine emerging victorious. Previous races have tended to be dominated by one driver with the winning margin generally in the region of 20 seconds which equates at approximately 0.5 seconds per lap during the race. As a result it is unlikely that we will see a great battle for the victory but with the battle between Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren proving to be quite close in terms of race pace there is the potential for a closer battle at the front than what we have seen here in the past.
There are potential overtaking positions on this racetrack with two one kilometre straights to start and finish the lap entering into tight hairpins so there should be opportunities for drivers to challenge one another this weekend. We saw in both Bahrain and Melbourne that even if drivers have a significant advantage in terms of pace that it can still be quite difficult to overtake but we may see an increase in overtaking at the front here due to the wide nature of the track and the variance of lines that are available into the hairpins.
Elsewhere on the track there is a good balance of slow and high speed corners with turns 12 and 13 providing a perfect insight into what makes a Formula 1 car so difficult to drive. Turn 12 is an ultra fast left hander feeding directly in a right hander that needs to taken perfectly as it will dictate the speed a driver can carry down the long back straight and the prime overtaking spot into the final corner.
Setup for the Malaysian Grand Prix:
By its nature this circuit is a compromise in terms of setup. Teams have to balance the need for speed down the long straights with grip in the tight and twisting infield.
Strategy for the Malaysia Grand Prix:
The one thing that has become clear from the opening two grand prix has been that Bridgestone has developed tyres that can comfortably complete nearly the entire distance of a race with very little effort. This will mean that once again we will have a one stop race. Bridgestone will take the soft and the hard compound of tyres to this race.
Weather for the Malaysian Grand Prix
The weather always has the potential to create an exciting race in Malaysia. Formula 1 comes to town during the rainy season and rain showers can come out of nowhere and engulf the circuit in minutes leaving the race track exceptionally perilous for drivers on the wrong set of tyres. For this weekend’s scattered thunder storms are expected for each day of running. The conditions that are faced in Malaysia are generally considered to be the toughest faced by the teams all year, high temperatures and high humidity makes for an uncomfortable workplace. The conditions are so tough for drivers to handle that during pit stops it is not unknown to see a team member pour a bottle of cold water over the driver while he waits for the mechanics to finish their work, but with stops taking in the region of 4 seconds this may be a luxury that drivers have to go without this year.