Malaysia

Track: Sepang
No. of Laps: 56 Length: 5.545km
Distance: 310.408km
Lap Record: 1:34.223 – J P Montoya (2004)
2011 Winner: Sebastian Vettel

 

First included in the Formula 1 World Championship in 1999, the current Malaysian Grand Prix is held at the Sepang international Circuit at Sepang, Malaysia. FIA-sanctioned racing in Malaysia has existed since the 1960s.

Preceding racing tournaments

The 1962-1965 seasons of the original Formula 2 Grand Prix held on the Thomson road circuit in Singapore is regarded as an earlier precedence of the Malaysian Grand Prix, when Singapore was originally part of the Malayasian Federation from 1963 to 1965. After Singapore seceded from the federation in 1965, the Grand Prix continued on until 1973.

Between Singapore’s departure from the Malaysian federation and the opening of Sepang Circuit, Malaysia hosted a range of other racing tournaments at Shah Alam’s own circuit between 1968 to 1995, including the Tasman Series(1968–1972) , Formula Pacific (1973–1974, 1978–1982), Formula Atlantic (1975), Formula Two (1977) and Formula Holden (1995).

Formula One at the Sepang International Circuit

The eleven World Championship Malaysian Grands Prix have seen a good deal of action on and off the track, whilst the weather—furnace heat one minute, tropical storm the next—adds extra spice. The most notable Grand Prix at Sepang to date was the inaugural event in 1999. It saw Michael Schumacher return to the sport after his absence due to a broken leg sustained at that year’s British Grand Prix, dominating the race and handing the victory to title-hopeful team-mate Eddie Irvine, only for both Ferraris to be disqualified due to a technical irregularity, handing the title—until the steward’s decision was over-ruled—to Mika Hakkinen.

The 2001 event was hit by a heavy rainstorm in the middle of the race which made conditions very difficult. Conditions were so bad that the two Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barichello spun off almost simultaneously at the same corner. Remarkably, they both recovered to score a Ferrari “1-2″, because for a long time they were nearly 5 seconds faster than anyone else on the field. Elsewhere, the race was even led by Jos Verstappen, surprisingly. However, as the track begun to dry, he fell back to 7th, but his efforts to keep positions were memorable.

Since 2001, the Malaysian Grand Prix has moved from the end of the schedule to the beginning, which has seen some topsy-turvy results as teams and drivers get to grips with their new equipment, with many races heavily influenced by the winners and losers of the scramble for position into the tight double hairpin bend at the first corner.

On 8 April 2007, shortly before the 2007 Malaysian Grand Prix, Formula One president Bernie Ecclestone was quoted as stating that the circuit was getting “shabby” and “a bit tired” from the lack of care, describing it as “an old house that needs a bit of redecorating”. He noted that the circuit itself is not the issue, but rather the surrounding environ; rubbish is said to be littered all over the place, potentially damaging the circuit’s good reputation when it was opened in 1999.

The day before, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had met Ecclestone to discuss an extension of the Formula One contract beyond 2010. While the government had been given an additional extension to host the Grand Prix until 2015, the government was still mulling the offer, as of 23 April 2007. The circuit was given a renewed contract in 2006 to organise the Malaysian Grand Prix for another five years.

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