F1 News, Views and Reviews

2009 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix Preview

After last week’s epic and exciting start to the season, we head immediately to another amazing circuit, Sepang, for the 2009 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Track

The Sepang circuit has been open for 10 years now, but is still incredibly modern and striking with its parasol/fan roofs across the grandstands of the pit and back straight.  The facilities are also fantastic and still marvel all this time in.

Sepang has provided some good races in the past few years, but could soon become a night event otherwise it could lose its place on the calendar.

A lap of the track

Flat out across the start finish line, the car should be blipped into 7th as you go across the start finish line and catch the amazing grandstands in the left mirror before braking into the tight right hander that makes up turn 1.  The car will glide slowly in 2nd gear to the right before you throw it back across turn 2, and catch the apex on the inside.  Feather the throttle unloading the back-end a little onto the right hand apex before cruising through turn 3 accelerating and pushing through the gears in the run up to turn 4.  Before T4 the track rises a little making the view into turn 4 itself a little tough.  Hammer hard onto the brakes pushing the car to the right, catch the apex on the inside then the outside – its a real classic racing car corner.  Turn 5 requires a little lift of the throttle, allowing the car to drift from left to right before coming back to the left as you brake a little for turn 6, and then hard onto the brakes for turn 7 – a difficult right hander.  Throttle into T8, a slightly easier right hander than turn 7.  Power down into turn 9, its a bit bumpy on the entrance make sure you are on the right hand side of the circuit.  Push the car to the left, catching the slightest amount of apex on the inside.  Its pretty uphill and bumpy here, trust the front end and catch the kerb on the right of T10.  Accelerate into turn 11, which requires some braking.  Flat out through turn 12, a modern F1 car has the grip -and again for T13.  Turn 14 is a late braking contest, but don’t leave it too late, push the car out to the left in preparation and catch the slightest amount of inside apex.  Keep it smooth as you have the long back straight to deal with – this should be the site of multiple overtakes now the cars can follow and slipstream each other and also with the KERS.  Turn 15 is just a long hairpin, and then flat out into the main straight to complete the lap.

Enjoy an on-board lap of the circuit with 2006 pole sitter Giancarlo Fisichella in the Mild Seven Renault R26.

Pre-Event Thoughts

Felipe Massa (Ferrari): “We need to recover, we need to start scoring points and start the championship in a good way here. And we need to develop the car. It’s not such a different start to what I had last year, so we need a similar mentality.”

Jenson Button (Brawn): “It is a great feeling after the weekend in Australia, it was a very special weekend not just for myself but the whole team, but we are quickly looking forward to the next chapter at this race weekend.”

Lewis Hamilton (McLaren): “My experiences here haven’t been so bad. For sure we have not had the best result here the last year. I would have been third but we had a bit of a problem with the pit stop. But generally it has not been one of my strongest circuits but one that I am working very hard on and one that I really enjoy.”

Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari): “I like the circuit. Sometimes it can be a bit tricky. It is a nice place, quite a bit different from others. It is very humid here. When it rains, it rains heavily, so we will see how it is this weekend.”

Pre-Event Photos

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