Since its inauguration in 1999, the Sepang circuit in Malaysia has come to be regarded as one of the toughest for teams and drivers as very hot and humid conditions stretch the competitors to their physical extreme. Due to cockpit temperatures of 50°C it is not strange for a driver to lose three kilograms during the race, through sweat alone. As the first of a now extensive portfolio of Hermann Tilke designed Grand Prix circuits, it follows his trademark style of long straights followed by a heavy-braking zone, which allows for slip-streaming and out-braking manoeuvres. The 1999 race saw the return to fitness of Michael Schumacher following his leg-break at Silverstone earlier in the year and after dominating the race he handed victory to Ferrari team-mate and title contender Eddie Irvine. Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso have three wins apiece here, with Vettel’s 2013 victory proving controversial for him and Red Bull as the German disobeyed team orders and forced his way past team-mate and race leader Mark Webber.
Circuit length 5.543 km
Race distance 310.408 km
2013 race winner Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
Race Strategy Briefing
The big concern for teams in Malaysia will be the heat and humidity, which will stretch the reliability of the new hybrid turbo power units to the limit. Teams are likely to cut open bodywork for additional cooling and this will harm the performance and stability of the cars and affect strategy. The cars with the best cooling will prosper.
Pirelli has nominated the medium and hard tyres, which should be robust but the difference in lap time performance between them will be key to strategy. A two stop race is envisaged unless it rains, like last year.
Overtaking is easy at the Sepang circuit, so expect to see plenty of passing, as drivers use their ERS boost and DRS to make up places.
In collaboration with James Allen
The race history chart and accompanying text recap of the key moments of the race, are together designed to offer a unique review and insight into the strategic who, what, why and how that decided the latest race result.
The graph illustrates the relative performances on each stint of the cars and the gaps between each driver on a lap by lap basis. Use the control to show/hide different drivers and click on the pins for more details of race incidents.
The ‘as it happened’ key talking points, provide a more in-depth accompanying commentary and analysis of the key decisions on the pit wall and in the cockpit decisions that again ultimately helped determine the final race outcome.
Pit stop league table
The league table shows the order of the pit crews based on their best total time in the pit lane in the recent 2014 FORMULA 1 PETRONAS MALAYSIA GRAND PRIX. Please note that this table shows the total pit lane duration, whereas the season best pit stop referenced in the latest race strategy briefing considers the stationery time of the car only during the pit stop.
Starts are a critical part of the race and strategy can be badly compromised by a poor start, while good starts can make strategists change their plans in the hope of a good result.
The below table illustrates whether drivers have gained (+) or lost (-) places off the start line this season on an aggregate basis. Please note that where a driver has been eliminated on a first lap this has been noted and removed from the sample as it skews the table and therefore serves as a guide of trends, rather than a definitive list.