Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Race information - Malaysia 2017 // Bid farewell to the Sepang circuit in its final race

Published by Christine

The Malaysian Grand Prix is dropping off the calendar after this season, so the 2017 round held at the Sepang circuit will be the last for the forseeable future. That means it's your job, if not your duty, to make the most of it as we probably won't see its like for a while. Hot, humid, rainy and a real challenge, Sepang sorts the drivers into those that can and those that wish they could. Who will conquer the beast for the final time?

Event schedule

Six races to go before the championship is over and a winner has been crowned - who will it be? The events of Singapore have thrust the momentum even further in the direction of Lewis Hamilton, who now has a commanding but not unsurmountable championship lead. Sebastian Vettel has all the work to do to claw back some of the gap, and the first task will be getting through lap one.

The collision in Singapore was ridiculous and incredible in equal measure - three of the leading cars out in unnecessary circumstances. Hopefully everyone learned lessons and will move on well from this, but equally I hope the run to the first corner isn't too tentative this time out.

Meanwhile, there have been driver changes happening with Pierre Gasly getting a chance to prove his worth in the Toro Rosso, sitting in for Daniil Kvyat. Sainz knows what he's up to next season, but his departure leaves a spare seat at the Scuderia, and it's all to play for in showing the bosses what you've got.

Session timetable
DateDaySessionTimeLocal time
29 SepFridayFree Practice 104:00
GMT +01:00
11:00
GMT +08:00
Free Practice 208:00
GMT +01:00
15:00
GMT +08:00
30 SepSaturdayFree Practice 307:00
GMT +01:00
14:00
GMT +08:00
Qualifying10:00
GMT +01:00
17:00
GMT +08:00
01 OctSundayGrand Prix08:00
GMT +01:00
15:00
GMT +08:00

Support racing for this event includes FIA Formula 4 SEA, Porsche Carrera Cup and Malaysia Championship Series.

Expected conditions

It will come as no surprise to anyone (except perhaps the FIA?) that there are thunderstorms forecast for all three days of the Formula One weekend in Malaysia. The traditional weather pattern is for a complete deluge to flood the track but for it to end as quickly as it started - the only real question is, will it happen before, after or during the actual sessions themselves?

Thunderstorms

Sepang, Friday

31℃

  • Low 25℃
  • Humidity 75%

Thunderstorms

Stormy weather

Sepang, Saturday

31℃

  • Low 25℃
  • Humidity 74%

Stormy weather

Lightning and thunder

Sepang, Sunday

31℃

  • Low 25℃
  • Humidity 75%

Lightning and thunder

Circuit history

Circuit information
CircuitSepang International Circuit
LocationSepang
CountryMalaysia
TimezoneGMT +08:00
Race debut1999
Laps56
Length5.543 km
Distance310.408 km
Line offset0.000 km

The Malaysian Grand Prix used to feature towards the beginning of the race calendar but its move to the end has put it firmly in place to become a key point in the championship fight. The race coming directly after Singapore has also given drivers an interesting challenge, as the two events are very different. One night race on a sprawling street circuit under bright lights, the other a high speed race on a purpose built track with fast cornering speeds and high temperatures to deal with.

At this point in the season, the cars are starting to struggle - long-life components are giving up and the penalties are hitting home. Sepang can be a tough ask on battered machinery, with plenty of throttle and braking to deal with, as well as high loads through the fast corners and of course, the ever-present threat of overheating.

Traditionally, the track favours Ferrari, but Red Bull have also scored good results here. Fernando Alonso has also enjoyed the fruits of Malaysian success, but is perhaps unlikely to repeat any of his three wins this weekend.

Results for the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix
SessionDriverTeamTime
Free Practice 1Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:35.227
Free Practice 2Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:34.944
Free Practice 3Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:34.434
QualifyingLewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:32.850
Grand PrixDaniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing1:37:12.776
Fastest lapNico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:36.424

Tyre compounds

The resurfacing that was completed in Malaysia caused chaos last year, as the surface was as new and totally inconsistent with data gathered in previous years. This season, it's going to be similar, as the asphalt will have bedded in some more and provide an entirely new set of challenges.

Pirelli chief Mario Isola says: "This year we are bringing the softest selection of tyres ever seen in Malaysia, which we expect to result in even faster lap times, with the supersoft used there for the first time. Consequently, all previous strategy calculations will have to be adjusted, making the work done in free practice particularly important."

Selected tyre sets per driver
Medium tyreSoft tyreSupersoft tyre
Lewis Hamilton157
Valtteri Bottas247
Daniel Ricciardo148
Max Verstappen139
Sebastian Vettel139
Kimi Räikkönen139
Sergio Pérez148
Esteban Ocon148
Felipe Massa1210
Lance Stroll1210
Fernando Alonso1210
Stoffel Vandoorne1210
Carlos Sainz148
Pierre Gasly148
Romain Grosjean157
Kevin Magnussen247
Nico Hülkenberg139
Jolyon Palmer139
Pascal Wehrlein157
Marcus Ericsson247

Press conference schedule

Official press conferences are organised by the FIA and happen four times during the weekend. The qualifying and post race press conferences will take place after the television unilateral interviews.

Press Conference Schedule
DayAttendeeRepresenting
ThursdayMarcus EricssonSauber F1 Team
Pierre GaslyScuderia Toro Rosso
Kimi RäikkönenScuderia Ferrari
Carlos Sainz JrScuderia Toro Rosso
Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing
Sebastian VettelScuderia Ferrari
FridayChristian HornerRed Bull Racing
Mario IsolaPirelli Tyre S.p.A
Guenther SteinerHaas F1 Team
Otmar SzafnauerSahara Force India F1 Team
Frederic VasseurSauber F1 Team
Toto WolffMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
SaturdayThree fastest drivers
SundayFirst three finishing drivers

Race stewards

The FIA stewarding process includes a former F1 driver to offer added insight. These stewards are overseeing the weekend's action.

FIA stewards
NamePosition
Garry ConnellyDeputy President of the FIA Institute, Director of the Australian Institute of Motor Sport Safety, F1 and WTCC Steward, and FIA World Motorsport Council Member.
Steve StringwellPermanent Chairman Steward for Porsche Supercup, World Series by Renault 3.5 Series, British Touring Car Championship.
Danny SullivanFormer Formula One driver, Indy 500 winner and CART champion.

All content in the series Malaysia 2017