Sepang International Circuit, 2017

Risk of thunderstorms will keep F1 guessing

2017 Malaysian Grand Prix weather

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Between the sweltering conditions and the regular chance of afternoon thunderstorms, the weather is often a significant factor at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Sudden downpours have affected several races at the Sepang International Circuit, which is hosting F1 for the last time this year. But the threat of thunderstorms was slightly greater when the race took place early in the season, as it did from 2001 to 2015. Last year’s race, like the two held in its original calendar slot in 1999 and 2000, was dry.

The risk of rain is greatest around midday to early afternoon. One downpour arrived on Thursday at around half past two local time – half an hour before the race’s start time on Sunday. The start time for qualifying on Saturday is two hours later.

But it’s hard to take much for granted about the conditions other than that they will be very hot. Predicting when a storm may strike is fraught with problems. Convective thunderstorms can develop so quickly they can’t always be spotted on weather radars.

Expect air temperatures regularly above 30C this weekend and track temperatures hitting a scorching 60C, potentially the highest of the season. This heat plus achingly high humidity makes cooling cars and drivers famously tough.

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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2017 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Author information

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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4 comments on “Risk of thunderstorms will keep F1 guessing”

  1. Wet conditions might allow Stroll to shine again.

  2. Tomorrow i should get an update from an weatherman I hope he keep the times in mind. But Friday is still tobe dry, Saturday very light rain in the afternoon and drizzel during the race.

  3. Usually rain might be unwanted by the likely fastest team, Mercedes, but this time I don’t know. It would make Verstappen a threat to Ferrari (again).

  4. Forecast is for ongoing overcast & showery weather right through to the weekend. But, as Keith says, it’s hard to be sure due to the unpredictability of the tropical climate.
    I’m hoping for light rain, a greasy track and that battle between the Red Bulls, Ferraris and Mercs that we were denied two weeks ago…

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