New F1-spec Malaysian track to be “Nurburgring of Asia”

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In the round-up: A new Formula One-standard circuit is being built in the Malaysian state of Johor, which borders Singapore, to open in 2019, despite the current home of the Malaysian Grand Prix planning to drop the race.

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Comment of the day

Esteban Gutierrez appeared at the lower end of this year’s F1 driver rankings. Look out for the next three parts today:

I’m still convinced he is not good enough.

Fast on one lap. Occasionally flattered by a decent car and a more aggressive start to grands prix which put him momentarily in front of his team mate before one of the two cars broke down or that he ends up gliding backwards because of tyre management.

I still believe Grosjean scores whenever he can trust his car. Gutierrez is fast (we know that from GP3) but not yet capable of reaching the end of a grand prix when it matters. And you have to ask, how comes he got zero points when Sauber and Manor managed to do it?

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Keith Collantine
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  • 59 comments on “New F1-spec Malaysian track to be “Nurburgring of Asia””

    1. What’s all that green stuff on that Tilke designed track!?

      Some of it is like, really close to the track too.


      1. Probably just green-screen-stuff, so digital ads can get REALLY close to the track…
        Joke aside, I can’t seem to figure out if it clockwise or anticlockwise…
        Seems rather bland anyway.

        1. I’m guessing clockwise judging by the few spots of gravel/yellow stuff there is. For example, the runoff area around the hairpin connecting the two straights and the limited space outside of Turn 2 would make no sense if the track was counter clockwise.

        2. Definitely clockwise

      2. must be green asfalt

    2. Before the #F1 season began, one-third of F1 Fanatic readers misread the question. Good grief!

    3. “The Nurburgring of Asia”!? More like the Magny Cours of Asia methinks.

      1. @hohum
        I guess they meant Nurburgring GP circuit :P

      2. The only thing German about that design is that is looks quite similar to Oschersleben, but with some longer straights.
        Perhaps the elevation change will ensure some more interesting driving experiences.
        I guess building a track for Grade 1 is sensible, as it opens up the options for any future race series (even if it’s not F1).

      3. It looks like someone took Circuit of the Americas, moved the start / finish straight, and removed the interesting bits.

    4. As a side note, Esteban Tuero, the ex-F1, is retiring from motorsport. He was relatively sucessful here once he returned from Minardi. He raced in TC2000 and TN Clase 3.

      Another side note is that Gaston Mazzacane, the last Argentinean to compete in F1, the slowest guy on earth by a long way, scored a pole position in the national series last sunday. At a race track owned by his dad… during his dad’s tenure as President of that motorsport series, the most popular in the country. He’s never, ever, ever, won a race since he returned from Europe, and there’s usually 30 guys faster than him, so you kinda suspect something weird happened last sunday…

      1. maybe they started using ballast @fer-no65?

        1. @bascb nah, it doesn’t explain it :P he got close to winning a race during the season but his engine gave up ala-Hungary 2008 on the last lap.

      2. Slowest guy. You could beat him? He ‘s likely faster than circuit instructors who would blow your mind if you try a track day.

    5. You had me up until “designed by Hermann Tilke”

      1. @fletchuk yep.

        Just to make it worse, Abu Dhabi was supposed to be the Monaco of Asia, and it wasn’t much further from Monaco than possible.

        However, 60m elevation change sounds good. There aren’t enough tracks with elevation changes.

        1. Abu dhabi is like the abu dhabi if of asia.

          1. The Caesars Palace Grand Prix Of Asia.

    6. More constant radius crap from Tilke. Some things never change.

      1. pasted the malaysia F1 hairpin, probably of camber. great..

      2. Spa has 18 turns. 13-15 are arguably constant radius….

        1. Well then, 3-5 are not. Even that would be nice on a Tilke track. If there’s interest I might start a Tilke cookie cutter collection on kickstarter…

          1. digitalrurouni
            7th December 2016, 12:43

            Some of Tilke’s work is quite good. I do like driving Yas Marina and Sepang and even AMP here in Atlanta is awesome fun. Challenging has heck and boy are there some blind corners and dips etc etc to keep you on your toes. I think the tracks are fun it’s the cars and the tires that suck 90% of the time.

    7. In response to the comment of the day, I think what it really comes down to, regardless of circumstance, the guy has 1 points finish in 59 starts.

      Hulkenburg: 51 pts, including a 4th place in Korea
      Gutierrez: 6 pts, 7th in Japan

      Write off because the car was so bad. Regardless, zero points. For arguments sake, Sutil still finishes ahead of him in the championship.

      Grosjean: 29 pts, including 5th in Bahrain
      Gutierrez: 0 pts

      2 of the 3 seasons, he has a car capable of scoring quality points and comes up well short of his teammate. The leash has been way too long on this guy for years. Not to mention, has the audacity to give Guenther Steiner grief. Take a look in the mirror kid.

      1. @sward28 he never deserved another chance this year. He was already mediocre in 2013, and 2014 wasn’t an improvement in any way (regardless of the car, he was overshadowed by the King of the Mediocres).

        But then Haas gives him another shot, probably because of his ties with Ferrari, sponsorship and whatever, which he didn’t deserve at all. And it showed. He was just as bad as before. The car can be tricky to drive sometimes, but you’ve got to show the world that you can do it, and you can shine once in a while. Gutierrez never did that. Under no circumstances he gave us anything to makes us go: “yeah, give him a good ride and this guy will fly!”.

        1. Wow, comment of the day @keithcollantine . I think it’s the second serious one. The others were on life as à f1f or me making fun of à situation. Great start of the day. Sorry I don’t participate more but i do read (and, you know, work, kids etc..)

          On your replies : yep, my thoughts exactly

    8. somewhat interesting end of year ratings to browse through from reddit.

      1. LOL Haryanto getting more “awesome” votes than Magnussen, Massa, Bottas, and tied with JB :P.

        1. spafrancorchamps
          7th December 2016, 6:25

          Haryanto did quite a good job tbh. He wasn’t completely destroyed by Wehrlein..

    9. Out of all things that could help F1 massively, another Malaysian track does not seem too logical, likely or even helpful. Especially when the existing track is pretty decent and apparently about to abandoned for F1 use. And, as if the existing track was not already thought to be too close to Singapore?

      What’s next, a new track for Germany? Who thinks up this stuff?

      1. A new track near Munich would be nice.

      2. @bullmello

        Fastrackcity is being developed by a private organization, and I dont think its primary focus is F1. Malaysia has long harbored the hope of being a automotive hub. Unfortunately, all they have to show for it, is Proton…but hey, cant blame them for trying.

        This facility seems to want to cater to automotive testing and enthusiasts. Which isnt a bad idea. The integrated approach is quite appealing compared to Sepang (although a brilliant track) which is miles away from civilization!

        This track will not host a F1 race because the government wont fund it. No private promoter will take on the absurd costs of hosting a race either.

        1. @jaymenon10 Hey don’t forget Perodua! xD

          As a Singaporean, my country has ZERO automobile/racing heritage so our race won’t be missed. At the very, very least Malaysia had Alex Yoong to root for.

        2. @jaymenon10 – Thanks for the info, sounds interesting.

        3. Thanks @jaymenon10, that’s useful context – I have to admit upon reading ‘Nurburgring of Asia’ I didn’t so much think of the actual monster of a track itself (as it doesn’t fit with that image of a neat new track), as I thought of the trouble the local government is having with the financing of it, and the failed entertainment/business park around it, and thought it rather bizarre to advertise it as such.

      3. I think this track could be promoted as a joint Malaysia/Singapore GP, not a bad thought…

      4. They might need some PR value to lure in the club members to park their expensive Ferraris there @bullmello. Letting Tilke put something on paper is not too expensive, especially when Bernie is in for having someone claim to be somewhat interested in staging a race in the area after Malaysia walked away and Singapore “is not interested at this price”.

        If anyone builds this, the only thing it has better sorted than Korea is probably that it is not as far in the middle of nowhere. If they get enough enthusiasts to have regular track days and then get some car testing into the mix, it might be a valuable investment.

        Going for F1 however, yeah as @jaymenon10 mentions, not something they would even aspire towards most likely

    10. As far as I am concerned, there is only one Nurburgring. And last I heard, the Nordschleife is 12.8 miles long, and with the GP circuit it is about 16 miles long. There is no other circuit quite like that one; with the exception of Bathurst, which is kind of like a mini-Nordschleife. And this Nurburgring of Asia is only 3 miles long. So it fails in that very important respect. But I will be fair here: Is the circuit bumpy? Does it seem like a mountain road or a hilly country road? Is it narrow nearly everywhere? Does it seem like it was designed and built in such a way like a normal public country road is? Does it have 1,000 feet of elevation difference? Is there only run-off in places where it can actually be built? Will it have corners similar to the likes of Flugplatz, Schwedenkreuz, Fuchsrohre, the Karrussell, Wippermann, Pflanzgarten or even the very long main straight? Will nearly every corner be blind, at the top of or at the bottom of a hill? Will it go through 3 villages?

      My point is that the people promoting that track have some gall to call it the Nurburgring of Asia… that is a tall, impractical order to achieve.

      1. And also- Johor is way too close to Singapore to have any GP’s. There was a circuit built there- called Johor Bahru that was a pretty decent track that I think hosted WSBK but no other international series that I am familiar with.

        1. Johor Bahru is a whole city – the biggest in the state of Johor, I think. It’s right at the southern tip of Malaysia, just across the straits from Singapore – really, really close as you say. The Johor Circuit hosted WSBK in the early nineties I think – I was in KL and Malacca in the mid 90’s and WSBK had gone elsewhere by then.

    11. I really hope VW can run their WRC Polo and Audi can run their LMP1 cars through privateers. That would be just great; it would boost the company’s morale after Dieselgate…

    12. Nurburgring of Asia.

      I assume that means the little plastic Tilkedrome on the picture has a much longer and infinitely more exciting monster of a track right next to it.

    13. I don’t get it: the Malaysain GP is dropped due to lack of interest and funding, the Singapore GP is hanging by a thread. Why on earth would you design a new grade-1 circuit at the border between Malaysia and Singapore?

      1. Sorry, should have read @jaymenon10 reply first.

    14. The new Malaysian tracks looks incredible! Very quick first corner, an ‘Istanbul Turn 8’-style corner which leads to a super quick ‘Signes’ corner which leads to a super quick ‘Becketts complex’. Get out of shape coming out of that and your dead meat going down the back straight into the final hairpin. Then the massive elevation change and the jungle surrounds just tops it off. Oh and if this is built then Malaysia will have twice as many F1 grade circuits as the UK.

      1. It does look promising. Hard to tell from that image what the shape of the terrain is, but it seems to be uphill from Turn 1 all the way through the ‘Istanbul Turn 8’, and then downhill through the ‘Signes’ bend and through the ‘Maggots-Becketts’ complex, which would make it even more spectacular. Sepang isn’t bad, but this looks like an upgrade—if not for F1, then for MotoGP.

      2. @unicron2002 – It doesn’t seem like calling in the “Asian Nurburgring” does it any favours, but perhaps it will be an exciting circuit. Lots of elevation changes possible.
        Maybe they think Nurburgring = Green Hell = Jungle?

    15. I am not enjoying the signs from Pirelli, they are planning in-season testing after the GP Weekends, which they should have though about as soon as they knew about the tyre change.

      They say that they will offer the test to everybody, and because it will be run at the same venue as the previous race, and with cars already developed, logistics won’t be as expensive and more teams will surely take part. But this also tells me that the data that has been gathered by the mule cars isn’t great, or they don’t like the results and expect them to be even worse when those tyres are subjected to the amount of down-force of a proper 2017 car.

      Also, in season-testing will only have one goal, that is development, and changing compounds mid-season will have an effect on racing, if we have a sole-supplier that shouldn’t be the case, and we all know that the most powerful teams will put pressure on them for the tyre that suits them best, and by the time we reach the 2017’s test they will have plenty of information to do so.

      We haven’t even started and it seems they are already making a mess out of it.

      Only positive thing is that they will test 18” tyres, at least that will look good, those tyres on 13” rims look like balloons

      1. I understand where you are coming from @johnmilk, however we do have to remember that Pirelli has been trying to get more teams testing more tyres for a while now, and we have heard that they asked the mules to be updated with more downforce before the last test, but also that they were happy to get a more consistent set of data and expectations from all teams concerning their expected amount of downforce at the end of 2017, which previously was quite mixed and with wide-ranging differences.

        Perhaps they have a good idea of where they need to be, but want to now make clear that if teams have issues that they can point to a lack of testing by that team to say ‘told yo so’.

      2. @johnmilk The 2017 in-season testing is focused on 2018 tyres, making your entire comment irrelevant.

      3. @johnmilk I think you are being quite unfair to Pirelli. They ‘should have thought about’ in-season testing before? They’ve been pushing for more testing all along, including post-race weekend tests. The data ‘gathered by the mule cars isn’t great…’ I’m sure it isn’t as ideal as having the real cars, but that simply isn’t possible and the data will be sufficient for now. Why assume it isn’t useful? ‘Expect them to be even worse?’ Why? They’re developing these tires every day. ‘Changing compounds mid-season?’ That’s a huge assumption. They may or may not tweek the tires, but there is no need to assume they’ll change compounds as you imply. Most powerful teams will pressure them into tires that suit them best? Well everyone in F1 gets the same tires so that can’t hurt anyone.

        They haven’t even started and it seems like some people are already poised to criticize a non-existent ‘mess’ with no facts, without having even a tiny idea of what the new tires will be like.

        1. @robbie they are pushing for more testing now, the tests that were made so far were planned by them, and that would be enough to design a better tyre for 2017.

          I didn’t assume that the data isn’t useful, I said it isn’t great, as you say surely it is not ideal. The tyres will have to perform in a different scenario. (this is a fact BTW)

          I also didn’t said that I expect the tyres to be worse, what I said was that the results gathered in the tests might be worse (in terms of tyre performance, wear, grip, temp. windows) as soon as they are fitted in a 2017 spec car. (this is an assumption based on the previous fact)

          Changing compounds mid-season already happened in the Pirelli era, it wouldn’t be nothing new. I didn’t wanted to imply that will be the case, but it is certainly a possibility if the tyres don’t perform as expected.

          Everyone gets the same tyres, that doesn’t mean that some teams won’t adjust better to different compounds in case there is a change, that will favour a team or the other, and it shoudn’t be the case because teams should work with the material provided at the biggining of the season. (also a fact)

          I do want them to do a good job, and I want to be wrong.

          It is simply my opinion, take however you like it

          1. @johnmilk Fair enough. Just seems to me like you are already assuming Pirelli is dropping the ball, and I think they are doing the best they can under restrictive circumstances. Don’t take that to mean I’ve been happy with their tires, but that has been F1’s mandate, and Pirelli has had to play along. They are trying to avoid needing to change compounds mid-season, and you seemed to imply they ‘just now’ have decided the more testing the better, but they have always wanted as much testing as possible. They have also been urging F1 and as many teams as possible to do a hot-weather testing session in the new cars ahead of the season. Sorry, it just seemed to me like you had already decided tires were going to be bad for next year and I prefer a wait and see approach.

            I have this feeling that the new tires being ones to degrade through tread wear and not through temperature, will be much more stable and easier not just to deal with as a team and driver, but to manufacture successfully with the limited testing they have as well. Meaning, for me at least, these tires won’t be nearly as finicky as they will be less on the edge of intentional gimmickry and moreso like real tires which Pirelli should be able to do blindfolded with all their experience throughout the years.

            1. @robbie I probably didn’t transmitted the message as I wanted, after all, English is not my native language.

              I’m with you, the previous tyres (I think it is fair to put them in the past already), were not entirely their fault, and they were “following” what was asked. They should have said no and try to come up with the best tyre possible, but that involves politics and a lot of information that we don’t have access to.

              The tyre construction as you say, looks promising, they have now to match their results in the pre-season tests with the data collected with the mules, and hopefully they match, or they can do minor tweaks to adjust to the 2017 levels of downforce.

              and btw it is tyres or tires? One is British and the other American?

            2. @johnmilk Well said. And for someone for whom English is not their first language you do very well.

              I use ‘tires’ and always have here in Canada, as they do in the US, but have always known that many countries, particularly Britain, use ‘tyres’.

    16. By the look of it Nurburgring does Mario Bros rather than the spitting dragon that is Nordschliffe. Whens this sport going to wake up? Its the elephant in the room. Its 5 elephants in a very small room. yeh lets check the helipads, the catering. No lets get some corners worthy of the name. Copse, Becketts, Maggots, 130r. All been there for a long time now. WAKE UP !!!!

    17. Just going to boast, I got all the team-mate battles correct this year! :P

      1. Congratulations @deej92, may I enquire your prediction for next year? A man needs to know ;-)

    18. Re Alonso.
      I don’t see a driver like Alonso signing with a team that has an unproven engine without some sort of low performance clauses, so claims of “We have a contract” only matter if the Honda power unit performed better than the low performance clause. The best place Alonso has achieved in the last two years was 5th, so maybe that was enough to exceed the contracted minimum performance criteria.

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