Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2014

F1 lap times in Malaysia slowest since first race

2014 Malaysian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2014Lap times at the Sepang International Circuit last weekend were the slowest since F1 first visited the track 15 years ago.

There have been no major changes to the circuit configuration since the first Malaysian Grand Prix. The quickest lap last weekend, set by Nico Rosberg during the final practice session, was the slowest F1 has gone at the circuit since the inaugural race in 1999.

Had qualifying been run in dry conditions it’s likely Rosberg would have been quicker, based on the normal track evolution at Sepang.

But he would not have found the six seconds which separated his best time and the quickest ever lap of the track, Fernando Alonso’s 1’32.582 set in his V10-engined Renault in 2005.

There are signs the current cars are already getting quicker. Last weekend’s fastest lap was 2.9 seconds of the 2013 pace – half a second closer than the cars were in Australia.

And the teams are expected to find a lot more time. Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery suggested they could gain up to four seconds over the course of the year.

Top speeds

As was the case in Australia, the cars are significantly quicker in terms of straight-line speed this year – up by more than 16kph in the speed trap.

The slower speeds at intermediate two, which is positioned shortly after turn 11, reveals how the cars are carrying less speed out of corners but accelerating more quickly when they get onto the straights:

The next race is in Bahrain where the teams tested extensively pre-season. The fastest lap of the test, set by Felipe Massa, was within a second of last year’s pole position time.

However Massa did that lap on super-soft tyres, which will not be available this weekend. The teams will be able to use the soft tyres, which are likely to be around a second slower per lap.

Update: This article has been revised to correct an error – the 2014 lap time was quicker than that set at the first race.

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95 comments on “F1 lap times in Malaysia slowest since first race”

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  1. I may be different to the typical F1 fan. But I love technological development and I love speed. I think it is so sad that F1 cars lap a circuit slower than cars 10-15 years ago because of regulations. I want to see what these engineers can do with slick tires, more leeway on downforce, no fuel flow rate, refuelling during races, no rev limit, ground effect allowed etc – would love to see cars with 1500hp+ of power 600kg of weight and much more downforce racing in wide open circuits. I want to see how extreme these things can be. I think that was always the allure of F1, not who the ultimate winner was, but the fact that it was the most shockingly fast cars in the world. If F1 continues in this direction, it will only be a matter of time before another racing code will be liberal on rules and you will have cars much faster than F1. The lack of track speed worries me way more than noise. The only thing I would do to cap the crazy speed is because of safety. F1 was pretty safe 10 years ago, now it is just as safe but with far less speed.

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