Sepang tweaks will make circuit quicker and more challenging
Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit will be a "faster" and "more challenging" track once major refurbishment works are completed this year, according to the architect behind the changes, Jarno Zaffelli.
The circuit is currently undergoing major resurfacing and refurbishment works ahead of the MotoGP and Formula 1 events set to take place later this year.
Italian architects Dromo had been tasked with the job of alleviating the poor drainage which often leads to rivers of water flowing across the track, but following a detailed study of the circuit, a number of other problems arose which they hoped to resolve.
"We found several issues, geometry, drainages, protections, verges and the quality of the asphalt," Zaffelli explained to Grand Prix Times. "So I designed a series of changes, after consultation with both FIA and FIM.
"The resurfacing and upgrading exercise involves the entire 5.543km track, improving corner driveability and upgrading of the drainage system, the kerbs and the run-off area at Turns 1, 4, 9, 12 and 15."
Alongside the drainage and resurfacing works, Zaffelli proposed several camber changes and the tightening of some corners to increase their challenge, which he believes will lead to greater overtaking opportunities and an overall quicker laptime.
"The expected changes for Formula 1 are a faster track overall, especially T2 and T9.
"The last turn is the major change to the track, with its new shape [it] will bring a new and exciting challenge for all users.
"The layout is still similar to before as the pit entry, but the entry kerb and the camber were changed to solve an inherent problem with the drainage flows, that in the past saw 'rivers' crossing both T15 entrance and exit, during rainfalls.
"The ideal racing line is now completely different, and everybody that is too fast [on entry] will have to 'open the door' on the exit of the last corner.
"If I were a spectator I would buy a ticket for the last corner without doubt."
The changes will undergo an FIA and FIM inspection in mid-May.