Malaysian Grand Prix
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.