Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang International Circuit, 2014

Early start time to reduce risk of rain delay

2015 Malaysian Grand Prix weather

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang International Circuit, 2014The Malaysian Grand Prix is the race all drivers have in mind when they hit the gym during the off-season.

Fierce heat exceeding 30C, energy-sapping humidity and a fast track make for one of the most punishing tests of their endurance the calendar has to offer.

On top of that, the ever-present threat of rain keeps them on their toes. Forecasting when a shower might be about to break is notoriously difficult – recall how McLaren and Ferrari were caught out during qualifying in 2010.

Qualifying has been affected by rain on F1’s last two visits to Malaysia, and local forecasts again suggest the highest risk of storms will come on Saturday. But this is an especially volatile climate where forecasts can change in a hurry.

As was also the case with Australia, this is another race where the start time has been brought forward by an hour to reduce the risk of the race ending in darkness, following Jules Bianchi’s crash in last year’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Malaysia’s start time has been moved several times in recent years. In 2009 Formula One Management pushed the it back to 5pm to ensure the race would be broadcast in the late morning in Europe. However a delay due to rain meant the race was abandoned 25 laps short of full distance and only half points could be awarded.

Despite Ecclestone’s insistence the late start time had not contributed to the abandonment of the race, the 2010 grand prix began an hour earlier, at 4pm local time. This year’s race will start at 3pm, with sunset due at around 7:20pm.

For more updates on the track conditions during each session keep an eye on F1 Fanatic Live and the F1 Fanatic Twitter account.

Location of Sepang International Circuit

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2015 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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6 comments on “Early start time to reduce risk of rain delay”

  1. One of my memories of going to the race in 2012.
    Before the race, two english guys turn round to me: “Do you know anything about the weather outlook for the race?”. Me: [looks up, sees blue skies] “Nope.”

    That race was also pretty close to running out of daylight, because of the mid-race red flag.

    1. Haha, good story. :)

  2. Come on, we need a wet race !!

  3. I guess now that European TV figures are dropping like a stone Bernie doesn’t care so much about us any more?

    1. Chris in Wales
      26th March 2015, 18:32

      Depends… Do you have a Rolex?

      1. I just bought a $15 Casio digital watch off eBay ! It’s so good !

        But Bernie told me I was no longer allowed to watch Formula 1…

        …something about me not understanding that good things aren’t allowed to be cheap and fun.

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