Mar 20, 2008

Sepang Will Be Different, Says Mokhzani

Formula One Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix
17 March 2008, By Sepang International Circuit.

Thrilled with just concluded Australian Grand Prix, Sepang International Circuit chairman Datuk Mokhzani Tun Dr Mahathir, however, believes that the upcoming 2008 Formula One Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix this Sunday will be even more exciting.

Speaking at RTM’s morning talk show, Selamat Pagi Malaysia today, Mokhzani said that Sepang was ready to deliver the best ever race in its 10-year history and that he expected the race at Sepang to be a three-cornered fight between McLaren, Ferrari and BMW Sauber for the top honours.

“We saw the power of the McLaren in Australia and a convincing performance from the BMW Sauber. Ferrari did not do well; but I expect that they would be determined to bounce back in Sepang,” said Mokhzani.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton drew first blood in the battle of world championship; winning the season’s opening race comfortably with Nick Heidfeld of BMW Sauber and Williams’ Nico Roseberg coming second and third respectively. Fernando Alonso finished fourth and Kimi Raikkonen finishing with a single point in eighth position after Rubens Barrichello was disqualified.
Formula One Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix
He also said that Sepang would be providing a different kind of challenge for the teams and drivers as the Malaysian F1 track was entirely different from the street circuit of Albert Park in Melbourne.

Unlike in Melbourne where only seven of the 22 cars finished the car, Mokhzani said that the race in Sepang would definitely see more finishers with the Malaysia’s specially-built F1 track offering larger run-off areas and teams coming better prepared in Sepang after studying their performance in the opening round of the season.

Targeting a record 125,000 spectators for the race, Mokhzani also believed that the inaugural Singaporean Grand Prix would help Sepang in the attendance; pointing out that the hype and excitement for the inaugural race in the island republic would increase awareness and interest for the Malaysian GP as well.

“I don’t see that the two races in Malaysia and Singapore would compete against each other. Instead, I would think that the fans would want to see both races … one at the start of the season in Sepang and the other at the tail end of the season in Singapore,” he said.

Malaysia hosts Round 2 this weekend from March 21 to 23 while Singaporean Grand Prix, which will be the first night race in the history of Formula One, has been slotted as Round 15 from September 26 to 28.

Source : Malaysia GP

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