A lap of Sepang with Hondas Alexander Wurz 18 Mar 2008
Sepang is one of the most technical circuits on the Formula One calendar. With a combination of long high-speed straights and tight twisty sections, this Hermann Tilke-designed track presents a real challenge to the drivers. Here Honda reserve Alexander Wurz talks us round a flying lap of the Kuala Lumpur circuit ahead of this weekends Malaysian Grand Prix
"It's usually very hot and humid in Malaysia, so the race is a big challenge for the brakes, the engine and also the drivers. The circuit is a great challenge too, so it's a pretty full-on weekend for the teams.
"To take you around the track: you arrive at the first corner in seventh gear, at about 310 km/h. There is a lot of grip from the asphalt, so you can brake really late before turning-in in third gear. The rear gets a bit light at this point. You then have the left-hander at Turn 2, which is the slowest corner on the circuit. It's first or second gear, depending on your gearing, and it has a camber change in the middle, so it's quite difficult to find the right differential set-up for it.
"Next comes a long right-hander, which is easy-flat even in the wet, and then you're braking for the right-hander at Turn 4. The braking area is really bumpy, which makes it a bit tricky, and then comes a really nice part of the circuit.
"You enter Turns 5 and 6 in fifth gear, at 230km/h, and the entry to Turn 5 is almost flat so you really have to squeeze the throttle and make sure you have a very late apex. There's an immediate change of direction and at this point we pull about 4.5g. You might touch the brakes to stabilise the car into Turn 6, which is incredibly bumpy and the rear gets very light. Don't forget that we are still at 220-230km/h, with not much run-off, and I really enjoy it!
"Then comes a double right-hander, which is easy to get wrong if you overdrive and it leads to a hairpin. It's first or second gear and it's very important to have a good exit because that gives you pure lap time.
"Then we go to another flowing section, which leads to the penultimate corner. It's very difficult here because you enter it very fast and the rear gets very light. You have to brake down to second gear while turning and the car is oversteering the whole time. It's very easy to overdo it. The last corner is another hairpin and we again brake very late, from 300km/h, down to second gear."