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Sepang International Circuit layout & records

Sepang Circuit Details
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Race: Malaysian Grand Prix
Used Since: 1999
Type: Closed Circuit
 Lap Dist.: 5.543 km

Lap Record

Lap Record: 1:34,223 min
Date: 21 March 2004
F1 Driver: Juan Pablo Montoya
F1 Car: Williams FW26
Speed: 211,782 km/h

Pole Record

Record Pole: 1:32,582 min
Date: 19 March 2005
F1 Driver: Fernando Alonso
F1 Car: Renault R25
Speed: 215,537 km/h
Onboard Lap F1 Video
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Sepang Circuit Layout
Sepang Circuitcircuit-legend

Sepang Circuit

Luciano Burti Arrows Malaysia 2002

Luciano Burti Arrows Malaysia 2002

The Malaysian Grand Prix has become one of the most popular races on the calendar since its debut in 1999. The venue was the catalyst for a surge of Asian races that now dominates the F1 season, but it remains the most popular, alongside the historic Japanese Grand Prix.

Held just outside the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, its long straight and technical fast corners make it an attractive circuit and one that provides plenty of overtaking opportunities.

The race is traditionally held at the beginning of the season and it always provides plenty of drama and excitement.

This is largely due to the spectacular weather conditions. March is storm season in south-east Asia and heavy rain is frequent on race day.

Sergio Perez Sauber C31 Malaysia 2012

Sergio Perez racing the Sauber C31 to the 2nd place finish at Malaysia 2012

This can cause excitement but it is also a massive hindrance. The rain is often too heavy for the cars to manage and the race has been stopped before. In 2009, the race was abandoned half-way through due to the freakish conditions.

However, when the rain stays away the sun beats down and it is one of the hottest events of the year. Drivers have been known to lose up to a stone in weight during the race, due to the extreme heat.

The changing of conditions is more frequent now, due to the change in start time on race day, which has become 4pm locally to make it more convenient for European viewers.

Ferrari has been the most successful team at the Sepang circuit as they dominated the first few years.

Mark Webber & Sebastian Vettel on the podium at Malaysia

Mark Webber & Sebastian Vettel on the podium at Malaysia (2013)

However, the most memorable race was in 2013 when Red Bull hit the headlines for the wrong reasons. Now referred to as ‘Multi-21-gate’, Sebastian Vettel overtook his team-mate Mark Webber to win the race in the final stages of the race.

This was seen as a dirty trick, as Webber had been assured that Vettel wouldn’t attack him and the cars would finish 2-1, in reference to the numbers on the front of their cars with Webber winning.

Malaysia still remains popular with both drivers and fans, as it is a blend of old and new F1. Modern, challenging and popular tracks are hard to come by but Malaysia has got the balance right.

In the fast changing world of the sport, Malaysia is growing in popularity and is now seen as an essential fixture of F1’s calendar.

Three Corners in Detail

Turns 1 & 2
Turn 1 is a big engine braking zone, coming directly after the pit straight where the engine has been at full throttle for a touch under 11secs. The driver will brake down from 7th to 2nd gear and just 80kph for the entry of the turn before lightly applying the throttle between T1 and 2. At this point the engine needs to have good torque response as the revs drop to 9,000rpm. Engine engineers will do this through the pedal maps, giving enough sensitivity when the pedal is low.

Kimi Raikkonen driving the Lotus E21 for 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix - Friday

Raikkonen with Lotus E21 turn 6

Turns 5 & 6
Turns 5 and 6 are two of the fastest corners on the track, taken at an average 225kph, with only a small lift off between corners. The high speed changes of direction put the internals of the engine under a lot of pressure, particularly the oil system, where the fluids are 'squashed' to one side by the g-forces. In contrast to T1 and 2 where the pedal sensitivity is required is at low opening positions, the driver will mainly be modulating the pedal towards its maximum travels. The driver needs to have confidence in the torque and pedal maps at these high pedal positions, particularly over the kerbs, to maximize his speeds through these two fast corners.

Start of 2013 Malaysian F1 GP

Start of 2013 Malaysian F1 GP

Pit straight
Top speed will peak at the end of the straight at around 310kph with DRS activated. Getting the right balance between a high top speed and appropriate acceleration is critical, making the choice of gear ratios crucial: you want to hit top speed just before the end of the straight to take advantage of greater acceleration. How the car behaves at this cruise speed will also be important for the driver. It needs to be smooth, so as not to affect the longitudinal acceleration of the vehicle. A smooth engine behaviour at the end of straight will ensure that reaching the top speed will be as transparent as possible for the driver and make overtaking easier. However, this can sometimes be difficult to calibrate, especially at Sepang where you have two long straights of opposite directions, which can mean that the wind can come into play.

Previous F1 GP Winners on Sepang Circuit
Year Race Date Driver Team Laps
2014 2014 Malaysian F1 GP result 29 March 1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
2 Germany Nico Rosberg
3 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Germany Mercedes
Germany Mercedes
Austria Red Bull
56
56
56
2013 2013 Malaysian F1 GP result 24 March 1 Germany Sebastian Vettel
2 Australia Mark Webber
3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Austria Red Bull
Austria Red Bull
Germany Mercedes
56
56
56
2012 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix result 25 March 1 Spain Fernando Alonso
2 Mexico Sergio Pérez
3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Italy Ferrari
Switzerland Sauber
United Kingdom McLaren
56
56
56
2011 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix result 10 April 1 Germany Sebastian Vettel
2 United Kingdom Jenson Button
3 Germany Nick Heidfeld
Austria Red Bull
United Kingdom McLaren
France Renault
56
56
56
2010 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix result 4 April 1 Germany Sebastian Vettel
2 Australia Mark Webber
3 Germany Nico Rosberg
Austria Red Bull
Austria Red Bull
Germany Mercedes
56
56
56
2009 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix result 5 April 1 United Kingdom Jenson Button
2 Germany Nick Heidfeld
3 Germany Timo Glock
United Kingdom Brawn
Switzerland BMW Sauber
Japan Toyota
31
31
31
2008 2008 Malaysian Grand Prix result 23 March 1 Finland Kimi Räikkönen
2 Poland Robert Kubica
3 Finland Heikki Kovalainen
Italy Ferrari
Switzerland BMW Sauber
United Kingdom McLaren
56
56
56
2007 2007 Malaysian Grand Prix result 8 April 1 Spain Fernando Alonso
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
3 Finland Kimi Räikkönen
United Kingdom McLaren
United Kingdom McLaren
Italy Ferrari
56
56
56
2006 2006 Malaysian Grand Prix result 19 March 1 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
2 Spain Fernando Alonso
3 United Kingdom Jenson Button
France Renault
France Renault
Japan Honda
56
56
56
2005 2005 Malaysian Grand Prix result 20 March 1 Spain Fernando Alonso
2 Italy Jarno Trulli
3 Germany Nick Heidfeld
France Renault
Japan Toyota
United Kingdom Williams
56
56
56
2004 2004 Malaysian Grand Prix result 21 March 1 Germany Michael Schumacher
2 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya
3 United Kingdom Jenson Button
Italy Ferrari
United Kingdom Williams
United Kingdom BAR
56
56
56
2003 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix result 23 March 1 Finland Kimi Räikkönen
2 Brazil Rubens Barrichello
3 Spain Fernando Alonso
United Kingdom McLaren
Italy Ferrari
France Renault
56
56
56
2002 2002 Malaysian Grand Prix result 17 March 1 Germany Ralf Schumacher
2 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya
3 Germany Michael Schumacher
United Kingdom Williams
United Kingdom Williams
Italy Ferrari
56
56
56
2001 2001 Malaysian Grand Prix result 18 March 1 Germany Michael Schumacher
2 Brazil Rubens Barrichello
3 United Kingdom David Coulthard
Italy Ferrari
Italy Ferrari
United Kingdom McLaren
55
55
55
2000 2000 Malaysian Grand Prix result 22 October 1 Germany Michael Schumacher
2 United Kingdom David Coulthard
3 Brazil Rubens Barrichello
Italy Ferrari
United Kingdom McLaren
Italy Ferrari
56
56
56
1999 1999 Malaysian Grand Prix result 17 October 1 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine
2 Germany Michael Schumacher
3 Finland Mika Häkkinen
Italy Ferrari
Italy Ferrari
United Kingdom McLaren
56
56
56