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The Malaysian Grand Prix is a relatively recent addition to the Formula One World Championship. The race has been part of the championship since 1999, and the grand prix is one of the four events now hosted by Asian countries. The Malaysian Grand Prix is held at the state-of-the-art Sepang International Circuit.
Sepang International Circuit
Construction of a cutting edge Malaysian racing facility commenced in 1998, motivated by the desire to return the Malaysian Grand Prix to the Formula One fold. Famous German racetrack designer Hermann Tilke was recruited to design the new Sepang International Circuit, which features space-age stands and media facilities.
Lap Distance: 5.543km
Race Distance: 310.408km
Malaysian Grand Prix History
Malaysia has a history of open wheel racing dating back to the early 1960s. During this period Formula 2 races were held at the Thompson racing circuit in Singapore.
When Singapore departed from the Malaysian Federation in 1965, Malaysian racing moved to a circuit owned by the Shah Alam. During the next two decades the Malaysian Grand Prix was incorporated into several open wheel series including the Tasman Series, Formula Pacific, Formula Atlantic, Formula Holden and Formula 2.
Construction of the Sepang International Circuit was completed in 1999, and within months Malaysia hosted its first Formula One grand prix, which was won by Ferrari’s Eddie Irvine.
Within one decade of racing the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix has proven itself to be one of the most challenging in the Formula One World Championship.
Besides having to navigate 15 high-speed bends and tight chicanes, drivers and teams have to put up with unpredictable weather conditions, which can change from a heat wave to a tropical thunderstorm in a matter of minutes.
The Future of the Malaysian Grand Prix
The Sepang circuit, which hosts the Malaysian Grand Prix, has come under fire from Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone in recent years. Ecclestone has criticised the crumbling infrastructure at the track as well as poor maintenance of the grounds.
Nevertheless, the future of the Malaysian Grand Prix is secure until at least 2010. Race organisers are reportedly seeking to upgrade the Sepang circuit with floodlights in time for the 2009 Formula One season in the hope of submitting the Malaysian Grand Prix for consideration as the World Championship’s second night race.