Malaysian Grand Prix: Sepang International Circuit

Sepang International Circuit
Sepang International Circuit (mondayblues /

Sepang International Circuit was one of the first racing circuits to be used in Malaysia and as a result quickly became a popular fixture on the Grand Prix circuit. The track first broke ground in 1997 and was finished by 1999 in one of the more visually impressive circuits on the Grand Prix calendar.

Because of the extreme heat and the conditions at large, the track was always a tough test for the drivers, not merely down to the fact that the circuit was a demanding drive, but the humidity meant that it wasn’t uncommon for drivers to lose over 5kg in sweat for just one race.


Swap Start/End

Circuit Info

Location Length Corners Capacity Year Opened
Sepang 5.543km 15 100,000 1999

Circuit Layout

Turns 2 & 3
Turns 2 & 3 (mondayblues /

The 5.543km track is one of the longer tracks that drivers have to navigate and the design, by that of Hermann Tilke, who’s one of the most famed track designers of the modern era, includes several sweeping bends, enabling a fast circuit. 

The back straight of the track measures just shy of 1km and is quite unusual in that it’s one of many throughout the race. The pit straight ruins parallel to each other, linked by a single hairpin in the middle of the track. 

From the start/finish line, it’s a fairly short chase down to the first corner, which is another of the sweeping hairpins that the track is so famed fro. It’s an S-shape coming into turn 2 and then the accent towards the back of the track from turn 3 and into turn 4. Cars navigate themselves at speed through turns 5 and 6, which are often tough places to pass on, but it’s vital they get a good run through these sections allowing them to gain speed for the tighter turns 7 and 8, respectively. 

 Turn 9 is one of the slower corners on the track and offers one of the better areas for over taking. This is also a favourite seating positon for fans as they can see a huge part of the bottom section of the track. Turns 10, 11, 12 and 13 are the fastest corners on the track. Whilst pace is important a good run out of them is required to get a decent line into 14 and then a good run up the penultimate straight.

Turn 15 is the final one of the track and with it offers another good passing point. Not necessarily due to the corner, but if you get out of shape it means that cars struggle to fend off rivals who will have a slip stream and be able to almost slingshot past them through the pit straight and down the DRS zone. 

Other Races at Sepang International Circuit

MotoGP at Sepang
MotoGP at Sepang (Abdul Razak Latif /

The rack was designed for Formula 1, but other disciplines of driving also take place at the track. These include the likes of MotoGP and the Mardeka Endurance Race. The flexibility of the track means that several layouts can be used to accommodate these disciplines, where needed. 


Sepang Circuit
Sepang Circuit (Abdul Razak Latif /

When talk of the fist track in Malaysia really started to take off in the mid 90s, it was reported that the then FIA boos, Bernie Ecclestone, would be welcome to the idea of hosting a Grand Prix in Malaysia. To ensure that they got the job done properly, it was down to Hermann Tilke to design the track. Tilke had a strong hand in several tracks already, including Shanghai, Istanbul and Yas Marina and Austin, to name but a few. 

Malaysian Grand Prix: 1999-2017

The Malaysian Grand Prix saw many successful years there, starting from their first race in 1999, won by that of Eddie Irvine in his Ferrari car. Ferrari have since gone on to dominate the Grand Prix with 7 wins in total, 2 more than that of Red Bull in second place. 

Unfortunately, it was announced in 2017 that the Grand Prix would be removed from the listings in 2018. It was another track that had seen too much pressure from increasing fees to host and declining ticket sales as a result of an increase in price.