After a thrilling start to the season, the Formula 1 circus moves on to Malaysia and arguably the best of the Hermann Tilke-designed tracks – the Sepang International Circuit.
Since joining the F1 calendar in 1999, this race has thrown up a number of classics – particularly since it adopted a late-afternoon timeslot, meaning heavy rain is always a possibility given the country’s tropical climate.
Sky Sports F1 will screen all three practice sessions, qualifying and the race exclusively live, as well as the first round of the GP2 Series. Free-to-air highlights of the key moments will be shown on BBC One.
With its pedal-to-the-metal straights, devilish hairpins and fast sweeping turns, the Sepang International Circuit always tests drivers to their absolute limits.
As the drivers arrive in southe-ast Asia for the 14th edition of Malaysian Grand Pprix at Sepang, this year will be no different.
Twelve months ago, this race produced the first major shock of an unforgettable 2012 Formula 1 season.
History will note that Fernando Alonso claimed victory, but the big story belonged to Sergio Perez, then of Sauber, who came within a whisker of claiming his maiden chequered flag in the sport.
A rain-affected race reached a thrilling finale as Perez moved within touching distance of Alonso with just seven laps remaining.
The Mexican made a crucial mistake, however, running wide on a corner to gift his opponent an advantage great enough to close out the race.
Despite that error, his secondplace finish still earned Perez more points from a single race than he accrued in the whole of 2011.
It was Alonso’s third victory in Malaysia and the 28th of his career, putting the Spaniard fifth on the all-time winners list behind Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell
Last year’s race was not the first memorable grand prix Malaysia has delivered, however.
On the race’s debut on the F1 calendar in 1999, Ferrari thought they had sealed a one-two finish in Sepang, only for Eddie Irvine and Schumacher to be disqualified not only from the race, but also the World Championship due to a technical infringement.
The decision was subsequently – and controversially – overturned by the FIA after an appeal by Ferrari, who in turn have a strong record of results in Malaysia.
In the 14 years the event has been run, a driver from the Italian team has stood on top the podium on six occasions, while current team leader Fernando Alonso’s victories in 2005, 2007 and 2012 mean he is the most successful of the current drivers at Sepang.
Kimi Raikkonen, who was victorious in the opening race of the season last weekend in Australia, has won the Malaysian event twice, including his very first grand prix in 2003.
Three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has also won round here twice, whilst Jenson Button is the only other of the 22 drivers to have tasted success at Sepang.
Tactics could come to the forefront in the warmth of south-east Asia and drivers’ skills will be tested to the limit.
You can follow all the action from the second round of the 2013 FIA Formula 1 World Championship on Sky Sports F1 and BBC TV.Read SOTB’s viewing guide below:
Sky Sports F1 HD is the only place to see all the on-track action at the Malaysian Grand Prix as it happens, including the opening round of the GP2 Series.
Every practice session, Saturday’s qualifying and the race itself will be shown live and exclusive in stunning high definition across the weekend, plus GP2 practice, qualifying and both races.
Simon Lazenby will present full coverage of the Friday practice sessions, qualifying and the race itself, where he will be joined throughout the weekend by Martin Brundle, Johnny Herbert and Damon Hill, with analysis on the SkyPad from Anthony Davidson.
Ted Kravitz will have the latest news and reports and from the pit lane while Natalie Pinkham will interview the drivers.
Commentary on all sessions comes from David Croft. A delay to Anthony Davidson’s flight to Kuala Lumpur means that Johnny Hebert steps into the co-commentary role for the practice sessions, with Martin Brundle taking over for both qualifying and the race.
The F1 Show with Ted Kravitz and Natalie Pinkham will follow hot on the heels of Practice Two on Friday morning and will feature reaction to both the day’s running and an in-depth review of last weekend’s Australian GP.
Rachel Brookes will be with both Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas as the two Williams drivers go downtown in Kuala Lumpur.
In Sky’s build-up to the all-important Qualifying hour, they will hear from all of the main players at Mercedes as Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Ross Brawn and Toto Wolff visit the Petronas Towers and chat to the Sky team about their performance in Australia and the team’s hopes for Malaysia.
Plus, following his impressive comeback race in Australia, Adrian Sutil will join Martin Brundle for a track guide around the Sepang track.
On race day, Sky’s 90-minute build-up programme will – as ever – star Martin Brundle’s famous grid walk, while, in an extra twist of added flavour, Natalie Pinkham will join the drivers on the Track Parade.
They’ll also have footage of Natalie’s trip to Russia for the Ice Race in Moscow in which she took Kimi Raikkonen for a spin, plus interviews with Jenson Button and Sergio Perez about McLaren’s tough start to the season.
A host of interactive additions, including on-board cameras, pit-lane feeds, the latest race stats and much more available via the red button and the Sky Sports for iPad app.
For those who won’t be at home, every second of the drama from the Sepang International Circuit can be seen on Sky Go.
The GP2 Series also returns to Sky Sports F1 this weekend with the first two races of the 2013 season at Sepang.
11 of the 22 drivers who will take the start in Sunday’s race honed their skills in the category, meaning this is the perfect place to get an early glimpse of future F1 stars.
Commentary on all the GP2 action comes from Will Buxton.
Tune into Sky Sports F1, the only place to catch every twist and turn of this exhilarating event, wherever you are.
.Thursday 21st March F1 Drivers Press Conference LIVE: 7.00am-7.40am – Sky Sports F1 Repeats: 4.15pm & 7.00pm Gear Up For Malaysia 6.00pm-6.15pm – Sky Sports F1 Friday 22nd March F1: Malaysian Grand Prix – Practice 1 | Start: 2.00am LIVE: 1.45am-3.50am – Sky Sports F1 Repeats: 1.30pm & 9.00pm GP2: Malaysia – Practice | Start: 3.55am LIVE: 3.50am-4.30am – Sky Sports F1 F1: Malaysian Grand Prix – Practice 2 | Start: 6.00am LIVE: 5.45am-7.50am – Sky Sports F1 Repeats: 3.35pm & 11.05pm GP2: Malaysia – Qualifying | Start: 7.55am LIVE: 7.50am-8.35am – Sky Sports F1 F1 Team Principals Press Conference LIVE: 9.00am-9.40am – Sky Sports F1 The F1 Show – Malaysian Grand Prix Preview LIVE: 10.00am-11.00am – Sky Sports F1 / Sky 1 Repeat: 8.00pm Saturday 23rd March GP2: Malaysia – Race 1 (Feature) | Start: 3.15am LIVE: 3.10am-4.35am – Sky Sports F1 Repeat: 10.45pm F1: Malaysian Grand Prix – Practice 3 | Start: 5.00am LIVE: 4.45am-6.10am – Sky Sports F1 F1: Malaysian Grand Prix – Qualifying | Start: 8.00am LIVE: 7.00am-9.45am – Sky Sports F1 Repeats: 1.00pm, 8.00pm, 12.25am (Sun) Sunday 24th March GP2: Malaysia – Race 2 (Sprint) | Start: 4.15am LIVE: 4.10am-5.15am – Sky Sports F1 Repeat: 12.00am (Mon) F1: Malaysian Grand Prix – RACE | Start: 8.00am LIVE: 6.30am-11.00am – Sky Sports F1 Repeat: 3.30pm F1: Malaysian Grand Prix – Highlights 1.30pm-3.00pm – Sky Sports F1 Repeats: 8.30pm & 10.15pm
BBC TV will have free-to-air coverage of the second race of 2013 with extended highlights of both qualifying and the race on BBC One and BBC One HD.
Suzi Perry introduces all the action from Sepang alongside David Coulthard, who will be on hand to provide lively analysis and discussion in the pits and paddock.
BBC One will broadcast extended highlights of the qualifying session on Saturday, March 23, at 1pm, with comprehensive race highlights the following day, also on BBC One, at 2.30pm.
Commentary comes from Ben Edwards and David Coulthard, with technical analysis direct from the pit-lane from Gary Anderson, while Lee McKenzie and Tom Clarkson will conduct interviews with the drivers and team personel.
McKenzie will also host the BBC’s preview programme Inside F1 on the BBC News Channel on Friday at 6.45pm.
The BBC Sport website will have live streaming of BBC One’s broadcasts, as well as additional video content including highlights of practice sessions, qualifying and the race, plus interviews and analysis.. Friday 22nd March Inside F1 – Malaysian Grand Prix Preview 6.45pm-7.00pm – BBC News Channel Saturday 23rd March F1: Malaysian Grand Prix – Qualifying HIGHLIGHTS: 1.00pm-2.15pm – BBC One Sunday 24th March F1: Malaysian Grand Prix – RACE HIGHLIGHTS: 2.30pm-4.30pm – BBC One
BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra will have live audio commentary of every on-track session at Sepang.
Coverage begins with the usual pre-race weekend show – 5 live Formula 1 – on Thursday evening.
James Allen will lead the commentary team for its live coverage of qualifying and the race on BBC 5 live.
Jennie Gow will be the pit-lane and paddock reporter gathering all the interviews and Gary Anderson will provide the latest technical analysis from the pits.. Thursday 21st March 5 live Formula 1 – Malaysian Grand Prix Preview 8.30pm-9.30pm – BBC Radio 5 live Friday 22nd March F1: Malaysian Grand Prix – Practice 1 | Start: 2.00am LIVE: 1.55am-3.35am – BBC Sport Website F1: Malaysian Grand Prix – Practice 2 | Start: 6.00am LIVE: 5.55am-7.35am – BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra Saturday 23rd March F1: Malaysian Grand Prix – Practice 3 | Start: 5.00am LIVE: 5.00am-6.05am – BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra F1: Malaysian Grand Prix – Qualifying | Start: 8.00am LIVE: 7.55am-9.05am – BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra Sunday 24th March F1: Malaysian Grand Prix – RACE | Start: 8.00am LIVE: 7.45am-9.45am – BBC Radio 5 live