Fisichella heading to victory in Malaysia

Fisichella heading to victory in Malaysia photo by Kamal Sellehuddin

Sepang, Tilke’s first, and many would say still best, track built from scratch, he had previouslty transformed the Osterichring into the A1 Ring. Drivers like the flow of the Sepang circuit but not the humidity and heat.


The rain here can actually be a relief for drivers suffering from the heat and dehydration, often when it does rain though it really rains. In the past the weather has led to some exciting saftey car affected races and there have been a few classics here since the first Malaysian Grand Prix here in 1999, only the second in Asia after the much older Japanese Grand Prix. The race here has even been stopped due to rain in 2009, the first half points race since 1991, that race was won by Jenson Button but it has been Vettel who has won the last two races.


Malaysia took to Formula One very quickly unlike some other Asian Countries including China, this is in part because the Malysian Grand Prix actually dates back to the 1960s though these were not Formula One events as such, though included the Tasman Series which included Formula One spec cars.. As a result Malaysia, and later Singapore, have taken very well to Formula One giving the Sepang circuit a good atmosphere.


The first race at Malaysia was itself an exciting if not classic race, the race win for Eddie Irvine with Schumacher as his rear gunner, twice giving Irvine the lead, took Irvine close to the title with one race to go, though at Suzuka a win for Hakinnen was enough to deny Irvine.


2001 was perhaps the best Malaysian Grand Prix to date, problems at the start for Frentzen, then Fisichella and finally Montoya were followed by Barichello and Ralf Schumacher having a coming together that sent Ralf spinning. Soon after this rain started and to make things more slippery Panis spilt some oil, which sent Barichello and Schumacher off the track though they recovered having lost a few places. Luckily for the Ferraris several more cars would spin off once the rain really got going including Trulli from the lead even once the safery car had been bought out. It was Coulthard who really benefitted from others misfortune though as he kept it on the road and bought it round to pit while the safety car was out. The Ferraris lost time queuing , both cars though came out again on intermediates. As the rain eased though the Ferraris started to make up places from 10th and 11th. It wasn’t long until the Ferraris were in first and second with Schumacher now ahead of Barrichello.

Malaysian Grand Prix Podium 2011

Malaysian Grand Prix Podium 2011 photo by Srikrishna Narasimhan