The Malaysian Grand Prix returns to its position towards the business end of the Formula One calendar this weekend for the first time since 2000. The only driver to participate in that Grand Prix and this one is Jenson Button, who will be hoping to start his 300th Grand Prix here. Only Michael Schumacher and former team mate Rubens Barrichello have more starts to their name. Coincidentally, both Barrichello and Schumacher finished on the podium in the 2000 race for Ferrari.
Lewis Hamilton could take his 50th Grand Prix win this weekend and Mercedes-Benz could also take their 60th as a constructor. However Malaysia has not always been great to Hamilton – he has just one race victory here. Reigning victor Sebastian Vettel however, has four victories to his name at Sepang, and could really do with making it a fifth this weekend.
The track has been resurfaced since F1 last visited due to safety concerns raised by Grand Prix pilots on two wheels. The darker-coloured tarmac, mixed in with the typical Malaysia weather could potentially see track temperature records broken. Minor tweaks have been made to turns 2, 5 and 15, although the distance has not been affected.
Renault will return to the scene of their most recent podium finish to date, where Nick Heidfeld finished in third place, however that was after the team’s input in Formula One was reduced to little more than the name on the car, and powering the machine. The race however is more remembered for team mate Vitaly Petrov’s spectacular launch off the grass after running wide late on into the race.
The Malaysian Grand Prix circuit is 5.543km long, or just over 3,114 Alex Yoongs.
The distance between the Singapore and Malaysian Grand Prix venues is just 332km. The distance by car should have taken teams three and a half hours, according to Google Maps.