The past few years i have been fortunate enough to find myself among the fans in the grandstand and last year, i was invited by Bernard. In 2009, Jenson Button and Brawn GP were making all the headlines in F1. Already being ditched by Honda before the 2009 season even started, no one, no one expected them to be in the position that they were at by the end of the season.
The Sepang Circuit notoriously known for it’s crazy weather change lived up to it’s nickname as the Hottest and Wettest F1 race amongst the circuit. You could have a blazing hot sun at the beginning of the race and a heavy downpour to end the race in style.
Having the race in the month of April which is the month where the wind changes around South East Asia, heavy downpour are very unpredictable, thus playing an important part in the race in terms of tires being used. I could remember how Ferrari were stuck with 2 cars in the pits years ago to change to wet tires but Schuey eventually won the race.
When we arrived, the cars were already on their warm up lap and we rushed to our seats. People have always asked if it’s worth watching F1 on the tv and being there itself. I have been to the hillstands once and it definitely doesn’t beat being at the grandstands. I mean of course with the higher price you are ought to get a better experience.
Right across my seat was Jenson’s pit and i can tell you that everyone’s eyes were locked on that team. Probably waiting to see if any mistakes were to be made by this underdog team. At this time of the season, Jenson was already leading the drivers by a considerable amount of points and he was definitely the person to beat.
Only a handful were rooted to their seats, probably because their teams aren’t performing well. As for the rest, they stood throughout the race. I managed to get the first row of seats so i needn’t have to stand. In the far distance in the picture above, you could see the hillstand but trust me, when you are seated there you are most definitely gonna rely on their big screens to show what was happening in the other turns. If only they can project the commentators’ voice, then it would be better imho.
Some fans even purchased this particular handheld device which would show live updates on the positions of each driver. This is definitely for the super hardcore fans. I being cash strap, relied on seeing who passes the line each lap, lol. There’s even headphones which beams the commentators voice to you and it looks similar to the headphones the Pit Lane managers wear all the time.
Besides asking whether to watch on tv or attend the race is better, the other question people ask is why waste money to watch a car that zooms by within a few seconds?
The first time i had the chance to be at the grandstand thanks to Toyota, i didn’t know what to expect and how would it be different from watching it on TV. All i can say the SOUND, the SOUND was bloody deafening ! When each car leaves the pits, it’s like a jet fighter taking off. The sound from the engine itself was a reason for any car/F1/motor enthusiast to be there. This is where the earbuds come in handy. Speaking of earbuds, it’s best if you bring on your own or be prepared to fork out RM10 for a pair of coloured sponge.
Ten to fifteen minutes into the race, dark clouds seem to be hovering over the circuit and pit crews were seen scrambling for wet tires. The safety car was on standby. The fans all stood up, waiting for the moment the flood gates from the sky opened. It grew darker and darker and without any proper lighting around the circuit, it was obvious that drivers didn’t go out all max.
The foreigners beside me said that all four of them traveled all the way to Malaysia to watch this race simply because they love the chaotic weather.
Before you know it, it started pouring and the fella beside me yelled,” This is what i am talking man !” Hahaha, i have never seen anyone who was this happy when it rained during the race. In fact all four of them cheered louder than ever.
Jenson Button was leading the race before it got too dark. The drains had a hard time coping with the amount of water thus filling the roads with water here and there.
The stewards decided to restart the race from the grid and everyone took their spots again. This was probably the most chaotic race ever. Pit crews scrambled to the grids to cover their cars and drivers. No one knew what was gonna happen next as we all waited for the rain to stop.
After waiting for a while, it was announced that the race was to be stopped and drivers at the current position would be result of the race. And that gave Jenson Button another win in his bag. The whole race took about half an hour, that’s right 30minutes ! LOL. I think Bernard and i took longer to find a carpark than the whole race itself. Nevertheless it was one unforgettable experience.
For this season, 2010, F1 is definitely gonna be more exciting. Drivers have swapped teams, new teams like Lotus F1 and Virgin F1 are in the fray as well and lastly the return of Michael Schumacher! Not with Ferrari but with Mercedes GP. I wonder how would he fair throughout the season
Of course most Malaysians would have their attention on Lotus F1 as it’s spearheaded by Tony Fernandez himself. Always admired how he has built AirAsia to what it is today. Besides that, having Petronas being one of the main sponsors for Mercedes GP, one wouldn’t have imagined a few years back to see Michael Schumacher in a suit that bears the name Petronas !
Ferrari is currently leading the pack after one race with Alonso displaying what made him the champion a few years back. Partnering him would be Felipe Massa who returns after a horrific accident last season. McLaren finally unites a pair of British drivers, last seasons champion Jenson Button and another past champion Lewis Hamilton. The idea of having 4 champions in a race is definitely mouth watering ! Can’t wait for them to be in Sepang F1 Circuit this April 2nd, 3rd and 4th !
Many have asked on transportation in Kuala Lumpur and i have summarized to this:
AirAsiaRedTix and get it fast ! Currently they are having 5% off racing tickets and you would need to enter their promotional code.
Promotional Code: AirAsiaRedTix
As far as cheap accommodation is concerned i think Tunehotels.com is fully booked. I did a check yesterday and i can’t even book for April 2nd. There are a few in Bukit Bintang area as well as Jalan Sultan Ismail but to be on the safe side, it’s best to look at other areas. There are shuttle services from certain hotels which would ferry you to KL Sentral. Check out the links above for more information.
If you have any questions at all, feel free to email me or even tweet me @satkuru.
More photos from Sepang F1 2009:
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