Sepang International Circuit, 2012

Malaysia’s unpredictable rain will keep teams guessing

2012 Malaysian Grand Prix weatherPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sepang International Circuit, 2012For the second race weekend in a row the teams have been greeted by heavy rain at an F1 track on Thursday.

In Australia it cleared up in time for the all-important qualifying and race sessions. Will the same happen in Malaysia?

Rain is a regular occurrence in this part of the world at this time of year, so it’s no surprise to see weather forecasts predicting it throughout the race weekend and beyond.

But the rainfall tends to happen late on in the day. That means there’s a good chance it won’t come during the race.

History provides a good guide on this point. In the 13 previous Malaysian Grands Prix, two have seen heavy rainfall. And on one of those occasions, in 2009, the race was held in a later than usual time slot. The start time has been moved forward an hour since then.

But early reports of an increased chance of rain later in the weekend will have teams watching their weather radars closely. Even that is no guarantee – in 2010 McLaren and Ferrari took what their radar was telling them for granted during qualifying and got no further than Q1 after being caught out by a sudden shower.

When it rains in Malaysia, it tends to fall in huge, sudden downpours. But high ambient temperatures help the track dry quickly.

These hot, humid conditions make life hard for the drivers, the pit crews, and the cars. Any shortcoming in a car’s cooling will be mercilessly exposed with temperatures in the high 20s to low 30s.

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Image ?? Caterham/LAT