- Melbourne, Australia
- Sepang, Malaysia
- Shanghai, China
- Sakhir, Bahrain
- Montmelo, Spain
- Monte Carlo, Monaco
- Montreal, Canada
- Silverstone, Great Britain
- Nürburg, Germany
- Budapest, Hungary
- Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
- Monza, Italy
- Yeongam, South Korea
- Suzuka, Japan
- New Delhi, India
- Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
- Austin, U.S.A.
- Sao Paolo, Brazil
Select flag for Mark's preview
24 March 2013 Sepang, Sepang International Circuit
And then there’s the fast double-right out the back; that’s a good place to see an F1 car at its most impressive.
The last hairpin is also good because you can see us braking from high speed and you can see the entrance to the pits.
There’s a great grandstand on the outside of Turns 1 and 2, which get pretty spicy at the start.
Turns 5 & 6: this left-right is sensational. A very fast change of direction, through which you find out just how good your car is.
Turn 9: traction is important as you power uphill out of one of the slowest corners on the track.
Turn 14: you need to get this corner right because it’s followed by a long straight. You want to get on the power as early as possible.
It never rains at Sepang, it pours. When it comes down, it’s usually impossible to keep the car on the track.
||24 Mar 2013
||Sepang International Circuit
|No. of laps
||1:34.223 – JP Montoya (2004)
Sepang is the first proper racetrack of the year. Its fast sweeps, long straights and big stops are more representative of the other circuits on the calendar than Melbourne, so if you’re quick in Malaysia it usually bodes well for the rest of the season.
This was the first Formula One track designed by Hermann Tilke and it’s one of his better ones. It’s very wide and there are several lines through some of the corners, so overtaking is possible.
Aerodynamically, the circuit is a good test for the cars because you need a good balance through some of the fast changes of direction.
The circuit is a real test for the drivers because this is a very hot grand prix. With Melbourne the weekend before, there isn’t the opportunity to arrive a long time in advance to acclimatise, so I arrive as late as possible. That’s what I’ve done in recent years and it’s worked well.
Bernie loves a late start and, once again, the race has a late kick-off at 4pm local time. Late afternoon is usually when the rain comes in Malaysia, and when it comes you know about it! It’s something to be wary of.
I finished fourth last year and will be hoping to get back on the podium this time.
AS A MATTER OF FACT…
- Prior to last year’s race at Sepang Mark paid a visit to Turn 11, scene of MotoGP ace Marco Simoncelli’s fatal accident in 2011. He laid a Red Bull Racing cap alongside the barrier as a mark of respect.
- Mark’s first Formula One car, the Minardi PS02, was launched in Kuala Lumpur on 22
February 2002. The team stopped off in the city en route to the season-opener in Melbourne.
- Mark’s first team-mate in F1 was Malaysian Alex Yoong.
- Mark scored his first front row qualifying position at Sepang, in 2004. He qualified second, behind pole-sitter Michael Schumacher, but retired from the race. In 2010 he started the race
from pole position.
- Sepang was the first F1 track to be designed by Hermann Tilke. “It’s a good track,” says
Mark. “Perhaps Hermann should have stopped there…”
- Who can forget the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix, when a downpour stopped the race after 31
laps? Mark finished sixth.