Formula 1 Circuit Details
Kuala Lumpur, MYS
- Circuit Length
- 5,54 km
- Race Distance
- 310,41 km
- First Race
- 16 October 1999
- Last Race
- 2 April 2010
Circuit's Last Podiums
As part of the economic expansion plans outlined by the government of Malaysia and Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the idea of building a superb racetrack with the intention to host a Grand Prix was the highlight.
Malaysia had years of sustained growth and support of the giant oil company, PETRONAS, whose sponsorship of the Sauber was not mere coincidence; basically, everything was set to put the plan into place.
The F1 circuit design specialist, Hermann Tilke, was the assigned mastermind for the project that was going to be built very close to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. The plan on paper and once finished looked visually fantastic and interesting from the racing point of view. It highlights the formidable main grand stands, where visitors are protected by a roof in leaf-shape design that can be modified in response to light.
The 5.542Km Sepang circuit is one of the most difficult and technical of the calendar. A combination of fast and slow corners, plus the famous "Hairpins", which are accompanied by two parallel straights just under a kilometer long, made the track a real challenge.
Drivers definitely have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in its outstanding layout. For example, from curve 9 to 14 just before the final straight, the cars average 200kph in a series of quick turns and with different slopes. In addition, the track is wide enough, which contributes to make overtaking very possible and in many cases, frequent.
The circuit was inaugurated in 1999, in the penultimate Grand Prix of the season. Michael Schumacher, was returning from his injury, and openly said that his goal was to help his teammate Eddie Irvine in the fight for the championship. Without much surprise, the German led the race twice, and in both times he left the way clear for Irvine who eventually crossed the finish line first, which in turn postponed the definition of the title until the last GP.
Unfortunately, the attention and interest from locals has been waning, and a slight air of neglect, especially in the surroundings areas, created a somewhat negative image to the Grand Prix.
However, the government re-invested, and promised to make renovations and adjustments, which seemed to be achieved, since the contract was extended through 2015.