Sepang changes to make F1 drivers feel “as if they’ve come to the circuit for the first time”

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Sepang International Circuit CEO Razlan Razali says the renovations completed ahead of October’s Malaysian Grand Prix will make Formula 1 drivers and teams feel as though they’re racing at the track for the first time.

The Malaysian Grand Prix had traditionally featured towards the start of the F1 season since 2001, but switched to a fall date for 2016 to tie up with the race in nearby Singapore.

Sepang has undergone a significant renovation in the lead-up to the race, including a resurfacing of the track and alterations made to at least two corners.

Speaking in a press conference previewing the races in Malaysia and Singapore, Razali said the changes would create some new challenges for the drivers and teams.

“There will be some unknowns for the teams and drivers as we’ve changed the dynamics of the circuit a little bit at the various turns,” Razali is quoted as saying by The Straits Times.

“It’ll be as if they’ve come to Sepang circuit for the first time.”

Razali is confident that pairing up will benefit both Malaysia and Singapore, encouraging fans from overseas to spend more time in the region and attend both races.

“By having both races back-to-back, we are making it more appealing for global fans, rather than competing for fans that come earlier in the year in March and those who come later in September,” Razali said.

“Die-hard fans can stay in the region and watch two F1 races rather than one.”

The Singapore Grand Prix is scheduled for September 18, with the Malaysian Grand Prix taking place two weeks later on October 2.