Sepang International Circuit is one of the finest creations of German designer Hermann Tilke and made its first appearance on the F1 calendar back in 1999 and stayed there ever since. Located outside Kuala Lumpur, this track braces wide range of corners and has been a crowd favourite with its two brilliant grandstandslocated on the pit and final straights linked by a tight hairpin.
The clockwise run, 5.543km circuit has a great mix of well thought out corners compounded by the region’s tropical climate that makes for many overtaking scenarios. Certainly a tough race weekend for drivers as humidity level will be high and thunderstorms are almost inevitable for the late afternoon race.
Getting a good exit out of the last corner is vital as it leads on to the main straight where the first DRS zone exists. The 650m run from grid down to the first corner is crucial to get early track position as the slow Turn 1 is an endless corner and getting the power downis ever difficult. The tight left hander, Turn 2, is quite bumpy and downhill to make matters trickier.
Switching directions to the long flat-out Turn 3 often see drivers swapping positions which leads into Turn 4 right-hander. The next couple of turns make for a long chicane which put a lot of stress on drivers due their high-speed nature. Up next is the double-apex, medium speed right hander where a car’s balance is tested due to the prevailing bumpiness.
The sequence of corners following up requires optimum braking stability and good drivability for fast lap times. Turn 11 and 14demand for hard-braking and steering at the same time. The back straight is where the second DRS zone lies and losing a place there can be regained if closely followed up as the pit straight is just a hairpin away.
The wideness of the track also aids for exciting wheel-to-wheel racing and the presence of variety of slow and medium speed corners require better traction off the wheels.The orange banded Hard and white banded Medium tyres are allocated by Pirelli but the probability of wet tyres is also on the cards as rain is expected to spice things up.
|Lap length||5.543km (3.444 miles)|
|Race distance||310.408km (192.879 miles)|
|Lap record||1:34.223 (211.783 kph) by Juan Pablo Montoya, 2004|
|Fastest lap||1:32.582 (215.536kph) by Fernando Alonso, 2005|
|Maximum speed||323kph (200.703 mph)|
|DRS zones||Pit straight and final straight|
|Tyre Allocation||Hard and Medium|