The Malaysian Grand Prix has been part of the Formula One World Championship circuit since 1999. It is currently held at the Sepang International Circuit, situated at Sepang near Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. The circuit is known for its innovative features and for its temperamental climatic changes. The Sepang International Circuit is 5.54 kilometres (3.44 miles) in length, a distance which is lapped 56 times during the course of the race resulting in an overall race length of 310.41 km (192.88 miles). Out of the first eight Malaysian Grand Prix races which have been held on the track, Ferrari has won the most with four wins.
At the track’s inaugural event the scene was set for a spectacular comeback from Michael Schumacher who was returning to the sport after sustaining a broken leg earlier that year. He dominated the race and at the last moment handed the victory to his teammate Eddie Irvine. The crowds went wild and it seemed that the decision was final – that was until both Ferraris were disqualified due to a technical irregularity. Suddenly the winner’s cup was placed in the hands of Mika Hakkinen and Ferrari was out of the picture. The racing world was abuzz with controversy and Ferrari was outraged, until finally the steward’s decision was over-ruled and the cup was returned to Eddie Irvine.
The unpredictable weather patterns of the country often results in additional excitement at the Malaysian Grand Prix. For example, in 2001 a heavy rainstorm suddenly broke out in the middle of the race. Conditions became so bad that both Ferraris in the race spun off at the same corner of the race at almost the same time. Amazingly enough, both recovered to score a first and second in that year’s race. Thus far the Malaysian Grand Prix has been won by Eddie Irvine, Michael Schumacher (3 times), Ralf Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella. Starting in 2002, the Malaysian Grand Prix was moved from the end of the Grand Prix schedule to the beginning where it continued to play an interesting role in the world of Formula One racing.
Michael Schumacher has clocked up the most wins for the Malaysian Grand Prix, being 2000, 2001 and 2004, with Fernando Alonso taking 2005 and 2007, and Kimi Raikkonen winning in 2003 and 2008. The 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix will take place on 2-4 April, promising once again to provide plenty of excitement for teams and spectators alike.
Scuderia Ferrari is the name of the Ferrari automobile company’s Formula One racing team. Literally translated, the team’s name is Italian for “Ferrari Stable”, but it is more commonly referred to as “Team Ferrari.”
Scuderia Ferrari was first founded in 1929, racing till 1939 for Alfa Romeo. Ferrari’s first attempt at competing in Formula One was in 1950, and through the decades has seen much success. This makes Ferrari one of the oldest, as well as the most successful team racing currently in Formula One. For many years the team has been top of the F1 racing world, holding a host of different records for the drivers’ championships, podium finishes, the most constructors’ championships, wins, points and so on.
Recent years have seen much of the team’s victorious streak being linked to Michael Schumacher. He has been the most dominant competitor and consistent champion in all of the history of F1 racing. Michael Schumacher retired from F1 racing at the end of the 2006 season.
Felipe Massa had a great 2006 season with two wins and finishing third over all, and the Ferrari team signed up Kimi Raikkonen for the 2007 season to replace Schumacher. Ferrari launched a new car, naming it the F2007, and with Kimi Räikkönen behind the wheel, the car crossed the finish line first in the inaugural race of the 2007 season. The Ferrari F1 Team went on to win the 2007 Constructor’s Championship, however controversy involving espionage carried out by a Ferrari employee and a McLaren engineer hung as a dark cloud over the team that year until the matter was resolved.
The 2008 season opened with disappointing results for Ferrari, but things started to look up when Kimi Raikonnin took first place at the Malaysian Grand Prix. The team’s use of a traffic light-type system to signal drivers to leave the pit-stop counted against them when it was triggered too soon resulting in Massa driving off with the fuel pipe still attached at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. The 2009 Championships had the worst season start in the team’s history, suffering a further setback when Massa was injured by a part from a competitor’s car which hit him on the helmet and knocked him out while he was traveling at 162 mph. Fortunately, no accident resulted, but his injuries prevented him from competing for the rest of the season, and Ferrari finished in fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
The Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team for 2010 has Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso as principle drivers, with test and reserve drivers being Giancarlo Fisichella, Luca Badoer and Marc Gené.