Malaysia GP to be wet UPDATE #3 (GMM) A little over an hour ahead of the Malaysian grand prix, the formula one paddock is sodden and the skies grey. The rain has stopped for now, but the GP2 race had to be delayed for thirty minutes amid heavy monsoonal weather, and then started behind the safety car.
04/02/09 (GMM) If Thursday was any guide, the Malaysian grand prix weekend could be a very wet and very dark affair.
At one point at the Sepang circuit, as six drivers addressed the media in the official FIA press conference, claps of thunder drowned out their comments while black clouds darkened the room.
"I think if it rains like this (this weekend) we will need to organize a boat race," Sebastien Bourdais joked.04/02/09 An unpredictable race is definitely on the cards this weekend, as the Sepang circuit is continuously battered by heavy rain. Most Formula One personnel remained dry on Thursday afternoon, however, as the rainstorms have a tendency to strike the area during late afternoon and evening. The race takes places two weeks later this year in comparison with 2008, although F1 has visited the circuit further into April in the past. The fourth month of the year also happens to the one in which the country has the highest levels of rainfall, which throws an added challenge into what is already a difficult race with temperatures reaching over 30 degrees centigrade coupled with much humidity.
Surprising, only one Malaysian Grand Prix has been heavily affected by rain from the previous ten which have taken place, as 2001's event saw it come after just one lap, resulting in high drama which included a number of spins and retirements. The 2004 race also featured a sprinkling of rain early on, which soon passed over the circuit.
03/31/09 It may well be a cooler Malaysian F1 Grand Prix with a later start to the race this year but the drivers will still have to brace for a wet affair at the Sepang circuit. The Malaysian Meteorological Department has predicted thunderstorms from the start of the practice session on Friday to race day on Sunday. The start time for the 56-lap race is 5pm instead of 3pm previously and it may turn dark if heavy rain falls.
Adding further intrigue is the introduction of slicks this year and it will be interesting to see how teams tackle the changing scenario.
The Sepang International Circuit (SIC) chief executive officer, Razlan Razali, said that rain would make things more interesting for the fans.
“The situation for teams working in the wet is trickier. What was the hottest race in the world could now turn to a twilight event because if it gets dark, it gets even more challenging for the teams and drivers,” he said.
On race day, the weather forecast is for temperatures to reach a high of 32°C and as low as 24 °C.
“I hope for a safe race but on Monday it rained heavily during the predicted race duration. If it rains, hopefully it happens before the race as fans can watch the race on a wet track and then enjoy the post race Jamiroquai concert,” said Razlan.
Cargo shipments of team equipment started arriving on Monday and their crew will be working around the clock to set up their pits from today.
Work in other areas around the track, including race control, circuit preparation, hospitality and the security department, were operating in full swing yesterday.