SEPANG’S FAST FU­RI­OUS DAYS

Takes fans down the F1 mem­ory lane

New Straits Times - - Sport -

FADHLI ISHAK fadhli.ishak@nst.com.my how­ever, was forced to re­tire due to gear­box is­sues 29 laps into the race.

De­spite his lack of re­sults with Mi­nardi in 2001-2002, it was nev­er­the­less a proud achieve­ment for Malaysia and was seen as a step for­ward in the sport.

The huge fi­nances re­quired to com­pete have been a ma­jor bar­rier to see­ing a sec­ond Malaysian race in F1. Fairuz Fauzy and more re­cently, Jaze­man Jaa­far, were both of­fered seats but were un­able to pro­ceed due to in­suf­fi­cient fund­ing.

Malaysia’s well known trop­i­cal thun­der­storms was tele­vised to the world in 2009 when the race was forced to be red flagged after 33 laps as heavy rain caused a num­ber of cars to lose con­trol.

The race was not re­sumed and pole­man Jensen But­ton took the win but was only awarded half­points, which at the time was only the fifth time it had hap­pened in the his­tory of F1.

But­ton, nev­er­the­less, went on to win his only world cham­pi­onship ti­tle that year.

The Sepang cir­cuit is also the venue at which Kimi Raikko­nen (2003) won the first of 20 races and was also the last race won by Irvine (1999) and Gian­carlo Fisichella (2006) be­fore call­ing time on their F1 ca­reers.

On a hu­mor­ous note, Hamil­ton, hav­ing spent six sea­sons with McLaren from 2007-2012, wrongly en­tered his for­mer team’s pit box dur­ing the Malaysian race in 2013. He only made the switch to Mercedes AMG Petronas that year and quickly apol­o­gised to his new team after the em­barass­ing episode.

A group of nine Aus­tralian fans, ap­par­ently over­joyed by the vic­tory of their coun­try­man Daniel Ric­cia­rdo last year, took to the tar­mac dur­ing the vic­tory pre­sen­ta­tion clad only in their Jalur Gemi­lang briefs. They were later ar­rested for pub­lic in­de­cency and for dis­re­spect­ing the na­tional flag.

Un­for­tu­nately, the in­tro­duc­tion of the Sin­ga­pore GP in 2008 as well as de­clin­ing in­ter­est in the sport in gen­eral, which is of­ten dom­i­nated by a small num­ber of teams, saw the gov­ern­ment make the de­ci­sion to pull the plug on the event last year.

Malaysian fans should take this “price­less” op­por­tu­nity to watch the F1 race at Sepang for the fi­nal time.

Ticket prices range from RM58.68 (K2 hill­stand) to RM336.18 (main gran­stand) for MyKad hold­ers, in­clu­sive of GST.

The For­mula One Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix is a home race for the Mercedes AMG Petronas.

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