2010 FORMULA 1 PETRONAS MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX
Season 2010 marks the 60th edition of the Formula 1 world championship; and Sepang International Circuit (SIC) Chief Executive Officer Razlan Razali personally believes it is going to be more special than the previous editions especially for fans in Malaysia.
“Don’t get me wrong … I enjoyed all the F1 races from the first day that I was introduced to this incredible sports. But, sincerely, I feel that this year will be very special. It’s not just me saying it; but a lot of other die-hard fans like myself,” said the 39-year old self-confessed motor racing fanatic.
“There are many reasons why the 2010 Formula 1 race this year will be the most exciting ever. For one, there’s no clear favorite this season … none of the top drivers this year can claim they have clear-cut advantage over their rivals.
“Secondly, they are four active world champions on the starting grid and I believe this is unprecedented … there’s the youngest world champion Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, who was the youngest champion before him. Then, there’s the unlikely champion of 2009, Jenson Button and of course, there is also the legendary Michael Schumacher … the seven-time world champion who is making a comeback at the age of 41 this year.
“The return of Michael Schumacher with the Mercedes GP PETRONAS team has indeed with fuelled further this euphoria of F1 fever in Malaysia as well as in our neighboring countries especially in Indonesia and Singapore,” said Razlan, who admitted that he is among millions worldwide who adore Schumacher and happy that the German had returned to racing.
He added: “Then, there’s also the hugely talented Sebastian Vettel, who is labeled as the next Michael Schumacher. He is undoubtedly a realistic contender for this year’s world crown,” said Razlan, who is the event director for the 2010 Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix.
Razlan also said that the entry of three new teams – Lotus Racing, Virgin and Hispania Racing Team – would provide further excitement and ‘an added spice’ to the world championship as they would effectively create their own league of competition to be ‘the best of the rookies’.
“And, from Malaysia’s point of view, there is tremendous excitement within Malaysia as well as the F1 community and its strong following worldwide with the return of the Lotus name in Lotus Racing Team … a Malaysian team founded by Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes.
“This, indeed, is a great leap and progress for Malaysia as a country, for all Malaysians and South East Asia as it is the region’s first F1 team. Personally, I can’t wait for the start for the season,” said Razlan, who previously ran a highly successful local outfit Pineapple Motorsports Racing Team before taking over the helm of SIC.
The new season opens this weekend in Bahrain from March 12 to 14; and Malaysia will host Round 3 of an expanded 19-round world championship this season from April 2 to 4. Australia hosts the second round from March 26 to 28 at Albert Park in Melbourne.
In a season featuring the old and new, debutant Hispanic Racing F1 would be featuring a partnership of F1 rookies Karun Chandhok and Brazilian Bruno Senna, who is the nephew of the late Ayrton Senna. The other rookies would be Russian Vitaly Petrov of Renault F1 Team and Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg of Germany. Malaysian Fairuz Fauzy, a former test driver for Spyker team – is the reserve driver for Team Lotus Racing, which features GP winners Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen.
The full list of competing teams writes McLaren with drivers Hamilton and Button; Mercedes GP PETRONAS (Schumacher and Nico Rosberg); Scuderia Ferrari (Alonso and Felipe Massa); Red Bull Racing (Vettel and Mark Webber); Sauber (Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi); Williams (Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg); Force India (Vitantonio Luizzi and Adrian Sutil), Torro Rosso (Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastian Buemi); Virgin Racing (Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi); Hispania Racing F1 (Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok), Renault (Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov) and Lotus Racing with Trulli and Kovalainen behind the steering wheels.
Razlan said: “It will be a very long season with 19 rounds and clearly one that will be very difficult to predict. But, one thing that I can guarantee is that the race in Sepang would be one thrilling affair that no racing fan would want to miss,” added Razlan.
Marking its 12th edition this year, the 2010 Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix would have an unprecedented start at 4pm – an hour earlier than last year’s race, which was disrupted by a tropical rainstorm.
In a bid to provide better viewing times for the European market, the Sepang race was started at 5pm instead of the traditional 3pm. Heavy showers, however, forced the race to be stopped midway through the contest on grounds of safety. After a long wait under their umbrellas, the race stewards finally decided to end the race due to failing light as darkness became to creep in; giving Jenson Button the race win but with points scored cut half.
“It is a good compromise … starting at 4pm would provide cooler conditions for the teams and drivers while remaining to be ideal for TV viewers in Europe. It would also provide enough daylight in case that the race is being delayed due to unforeseen circumstances,” said Razlan, who is confident of a good turnout this year especially in view of strong promotion campaigns by SIC and its partners.
In promoting the 2010 Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix, SIC has embarked on an aggressive ‘I Love F1’ campaign, which is aim at driving greater interest among the Malaysian public and fans worldwide for the sports.
“We have limited edition ‘I Love F1’ T-shirts, badges and other merchandise items to spread this message. It is aimed at creating greater awareness and generating stronger excitement among the fans,” said Razlan, who hoped that fans would come to the circuit dressed in the unique ‘I Love F1’ T-shirts.
The climax of the campaign would be a special performance themed ‘I Love F1’ by some 300 Malaysian youths at the opening ceremony for the 2010 Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix. The performance, which would put on show an harmonious multi-racial Malaysia, was also to reflect the Government’s 1Malaysia campaign.
Despite already being in Malaysia since 1999, SIC felt that there would were still many areas that could be exploited to reap in greater benefits from the sports especially with the entry of Malaysia’s own Lotus Racing in the world championship this year.
Like the composition of the competing drivers, off-track events in support of the 2010 Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix would also be a combination of old and new with the free children’s pit walkabout as among the new additions.
“This will be happening on Friday. Entry to the circuit and the pit lane is free for adults if they are accompanied by their children. This is to engage children and youths in Formula One and to get them closer and more personal to the sports.
“We will also have special lucky draws for ticket holders only. We are balloting 10 pairs of passes for the ticket holders to upgrade their current tickets to paddock club passes worth RM15,000 on Saturday.
“There will be a further draw of the five pairs for Sunday paddock passes and a further 2 will be balloted for the pass holders to watch the race at the team’s pit wall or pit garage. Clearly, these are unique experiences that money cannot buy,” said Razlan.
According to him, SIC was also working hard to bring back the RMAF Aerial display over three days, which had been a permanent feature of the Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix until 2004.
Taking cue from the success of last year’s post race concert that featured Jamiroquai, SIC had lined up an even bigger show for 2010 with world famous humanitarian hip hop and reggae artist Wyclef Jean and the pioneer of electronic dance genre Fatboy Slim after the conclusion of the race.
Away from the circuit, SIC’s strongest associates Tourism Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur City Hall and title sponsor PETRONAS would be working closely to transform Kuala Lumpur into the KL Grand Prix City.
Events associated to the F1 race included the nationwide month-long Malaysian GP Sale, the International Shoe Festival, Classic F1 Static Display, the F1 Gala Cocktail featuring Lionel Ritchie and the F1 track demonstration by Mercedes GP PETRONAS drivers – Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg on March 31 at the outskirts of Suria KLCC.
“As in previous years, all the competing team would also have their own programmes around the city prior to the race especially to bring their drivers to the fans. I expect they would be making their announcements public closer to the race. It will be one exciting week packed with exciting programmes,” added Razlan.
With tickets as low as RM100, the 2010 Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix provides the cheapest ticket as compared to any other F1 venue, underlining further the reason for fans not to miss this world’s most prestigious motor racing event.
For more details, log on to SIC official website at www.sepangcircuit.com. For media enquiries, kindly contact Head of Corporate Communications Azlan Akil at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the National Press Officer Norlina Ayob at email@example.com.
The 2010 Season Race Calendar
Round 1 BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX (Sakhir) 12 – 14 March
Round 2 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX (Melbourne) 26 – 28 March
Round 3 MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX (Sepang) 02 – 04 April
Round 4 CHINESE GRAND PRIX (Shanghai) 16 – 18 April
Round 5 SPANISH GRAND PRIX (Catalunya) 07 – 09 May
Round 6 MONACO GRAND PRIX (Monte Carlo) 14 – 16 May
Round 7 TURKISH GRAND PRIX (Istanbul) 28 – 30 May
Round 8 CANADIAN GRAND PRIX (Montreal) 11 – 13 June
Round 9 EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX (Valencia) 25 – 27 June
Round 10 BRITISH GRAND PRIX (Donington Park) 09 – 11 July
Round 11 GERMAN GRAND PRIX (Hockenheim) 23 – 25 July
Round 12 HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX (Budapest) 30 Jul – 01 Aug
Round 13 BELGIAN GRAND PRIX (Spa) 27 – 29 August
Round 14 ITALIAN GRAND PRIX (Monza) 10 – 12 September
Round 15 SINGAPOREAN GRAND PRIX (Singapore) 24 – 26 September
Round 16 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX (Suzuka) 01 – 03 October
Round 17 KOREAN GRAND PRIX (Korea) 15 – 17 October
Round 18 BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX (Sao Paulo) 29 – 31 October
Round 19 ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX (Yas Marina) 12 – 14 November