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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Sepang International Circuit – Fascinating Facts about F1 Arena
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Sepang International Circuit – Fascinating Facts about F1 Arena

Malaysia is renowned the world over for countless reasons, and one of the most significant of these is the Sepang International Circuit, which has featured many legendary motorsports events.


Details about the Track

According to the official Formula One website, the total distance of the circuit is exactly 5.543 kilometres. Given that the average race will consist of 56 laps, contestants will be travelling a total of 310.4 kilometres during the course of the race. The total number of turns on the track amount to fifteen, and only five of them are left-hand turns. At its widest width the track measures 22 meters and 16 meters at its lowest. Overtaking is encouraged at the track and there are many spots to do so, with four genuine spots for passing situated at the 1st, 4th, 9th and 15th turns. The current lap record is 1min and 34 seconds and was set by Juan Pablo Montoya in 2004, driving a V10-powered BMW.


It's Built on a Swamp

Although in the present day you will find many a luxury Sepang hotel to choose from such as the AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort , most of the area initially consisted of swamp. The circuit itself is built on land that used to be a swamp measuring 260 hectares, and is therefore one of the most unique circuits in the world. The track surface has developed a variety of bumps, making it one of the more challenging tracks. The weather of Malaysia further adds to the challenge since sunny skies can give way to thunderstorms in an instance.


The Iconic Grandstand

One of the most instantly recognisable features of the circuit is the massive grandstand which measures more than a kilometre in length. It starts near the back straight and extends around the last corner and down a significant portion of the last straight as well. The structure is also placed along the east-west alignment to ensure the occupants are in the shade. The shape of the grandstand roof is modelled after the hibiscus flower, which is of national significance to Malaysia.


The Importance of Qualifying

Unlike more circuits, qualifying on the pole position isn't essential at Sepang, although it would definitely aid the driver greatly. The pole-sitter, during the previous ten races at Sepang, had proceeded to win the grand prix on six different occasions. This occurred in both 2013 and 2014 events. Fernando Alonso, in 2012, set a record as the lowest starter to win a grand prix at Sepang by starting off in ninth place.


Most Successful Drivers and Teams

The three most successful drivers of Sepang are Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher who have three victories each at the circuit. Schumacher's wins were all during his peak with Ferrari in 2000, 2001 and 2004 respectively. Each of Alonso's victories was with separate teams encompassing Renault (2005), Mclaren (2007) and Ferrari (2012). Vettel's victories were the most recent and took place in 2010, 2011, and 2013.