Home  //  Circuit Guides Formula 1 Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur)
Written by @Damien_Marquez   
Wednesday, 25 March 2015 01:44

The Malaysian round of the championship takes place near Kuala Lumpur at the Sepang International Circuit on the 27-28-29 March 2015. It will be the first time of the year cars compete on a purpose-built F1 track and the perfect place to find out who's hot and who's not.

With its contract up for renewal, it might be the last opportunity to attend a grand prix at bargain prices. The Formula 1 Malaysia Grand Prix has the most affordable tickets on the calendar and it is competitively priced against other F1 race weekends in the region. Accommodation, transport and food costs are relatively low compared to most western countries. KL is also the hub for AirAsia, a leading low cost carrier in the Asia-Pacific region.


K1 Grandstand - Image: Ferrari S.p.A

Another reason to go is the unparalleled views from most grandstands and other various vantage points around the track. Unlike the semi-street circuit of Melbourne, it is possible to see as much as half of the circuit from your seat or hillstand (similar to general admission). The track features several fast sweeping bends which give the cars a noticeable rhythm that is a pleasure to drive or to watch.

Support series no longer features GP2 or Porsche Carrera Cup Asia rounds and instead the organisers are focusing on off-track activities. Promoters are taking advantage of the reduced noise levels of F1 cars to market the event towards families so expect to see a water course cool zone, a ferris wheel and other family friendly activities. That said, there will be a couple of domestic touring car series on track between F1 sessions. Lenny Kravitz had to cancel his after the race concert and a couple of K-pop bands will perform at the helipad stage instead on Sunday.

The atmosphere in KL during the weekend is festive and charming thanks to its diverse mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures. The city is still developing rapidly making it another reason for visiting frequently, whether for the F1 or MotoGP weekends. KL is a popular shopping destination and has a huge selection of cuisines to choose from. If this is your first time in KL, a trip to KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre) to see the magnificent Petronas Twin Towers is almost compulsory.


Promotional event Suria KLCC - Image: MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team

Petronas, the national energy company and title sponsor of the Mercedes AMG F1 Team usually throws a PR event at the bottom of the towers with its drivers on the Thursday afternoon before the race weekend in the Suria KLCC shopping centre, so time your visit to make the best of the occasion.

 

CONTENTS

1 // Location and accommodation
2 // Money matters
3 // Ticket prices
4 // Which grandstand to choose
5 // Tips and recommendations
6 // Useful links to prepare your Malaysia GP trip

 

 

1 // LOCATION AND ACCOMMODATION

The SIC is located in Sepang, approximately 50 km from KL and situated across the road from the International Airport (KLIA) and Low Cost Carrier Terminal (KLIA2).

The track is easily reached from the main city; so don't miss out on the weekend party atmosphere by staying closer to the circuit. It takes about an hour to reach the circuit from KL Sentral using the KLIA Ekspres train and shuttle service. Alternatively, there is a Skybus coach service running from KL Sentral, KLCC or KLIA2. Taxis can also be a cost effective solution when traveling as a group of three or more.

The journey back to KL can be frustrating on Saturday and Sunday. It takes about three hours worth of queuing and traffic jams to go back to the city centre once the race finishes with the KLIA Ekspres and associated shuttle buses (and up to seven hours with the Skybus service). If waiting this long doesn't sound like you, there are a couple of hotels at the KLIA terminal and a Tune Hotel at the KLIA2 terminal if don't mind missing out on the F1 weekend city vibe. Using a taxi, it is possible to stay near Bangi and Putrajaya, where most Formula 1 team personnel and the media tend to reside for the week.

KL hotels can be a bit of hit and miss, especially those rated three stars or below. Stay in the KLCC/Bukit Bintang area for the major shopping malls and to soak up the nightlife in trendy bars and clubs (Luna Bar, Sky Bar, Zouk), or stay close to Sentral for easy transportation to the track. For peace of mind, book a four and five star hotel. They only cost a fraction of what they'd normally charge in western countries.


Main Grandstand North - Image: MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team

 

 

2 // MONEY MATTERS

The most expensive part of the trip is probably going to be the airfare if you do not have access to a low cost carrier route to KL. For this reason, booking flights as early as possible is recommended if you're planning to extend your stay in the region. Tickets for the grand prix usually go on sale in late August or early September, however, keep your options open as the World Motor Sport Council only ratifies the F1 calendar in December. Expect it to be scheduled one or two weeks after the Australian GP.

Return airfares to Kuala Lumpur start from:
• A$400 from Melbourne
• S$110 from Singapore (coaches can be a cheaper alternative to flying)
• £700 from London
• €600 from Frankfurt
• $1,200 from New York

Four night accommodation from:
RM900 / $300 / £200 / €250 for a double/twin room in a four star hotel with a review score of 7/10 or more on Booking.com.

Visa:
none required for citizens of many countries including the UK, the US, Australia, Canada or Singapore for a stay of up to 30 to 90 days depending of your nationality.
Go to malaysia.visahq.com for other countries.

Food and drinks:
RM400 / $130 / £80 / €100 per person for four days. Local meals start from under RM15 / $5 / £3 / €4 per person. Expect to pay a bit more at the track, although it's nowhere near as expensive as other grands prix.

Airport transfer with he KLIA Ekspres or KLIA Transit train services:
• RM35 / $12 / £7 / €9 for a one way fare to KL Sentral; or
• RM6.20 / $2 / £1.30 / €1.60 for a one way fare to Putrajaya (KLIA Transit only).

Transfer to the Sepang International Circuit from KL Sentral:
• RM153 / $50 / £30 / €40 for a KLIA Ekspres three day pass;
• RM30 / $10 / £6 / €8 for a return trip from KL Sentral, KLCC or KLIA2 with the Skybus coach service; or
• RM300 / $100 / £60 / €80 for a return trip using a taxi.

Internet access:
• RM10.80 / $3.50 / £2.20 / €2.70 for two days of unlimited 4G mobile data then a maximum of RM8 / $2.60 / £1.60 / €2 per day on DiGi. We found DiGi offered a reliable service on most platforms when we attended the grand prix in 2011. The mobile scene has changed quite a bit since then and most operators provide 4G coverage nowadays.

TOTAL BUDGET (excluding flights, visa and tickets) from:
RM1,500 / $500 / £300 / €400 for a solo traveller or RM2,100 / $700 / £500 / €600 for a couple.

 

 

3 // TICKET PRICES

Pricing remains unchanged for 2015. A 50% discount applies on most tickets until 31 December. Whilst there is no general admission (it is not possible to go round the track), the hillstands are as close as it gets tickets for these are the cheapest on the F1 calendar. Main Grandstand ticket holders all have access to the Citrine grandstand, where seating is unreserved.

The prices shown are inclusive of all fees if collected at the track. in bold are those issued by the organisers or the ticketing agencies whilst the others are based on the highest exchange rate since the last Malaysia GP and have been sourced from xe.com. Hospitality prices have been rounded up to the nearest $100 / £100 / €100 and Grandstand tickets to the nearest $10 / £10 / €10.

Due to the significant difference in prices from one reseller to another, we have included the lowest prices we could find for hospitality; in black for BookF1.com and in yellow for gpticketshop.com.


Image: Sepang International Circuit Sdn Bhd.

 

 

4 // WHICH GRANDSTAND TO CHOOSE

The weather for the Malaysia Grand Prix is variable, the ambient air temperature averages 32°C and humidity levels range between 70 and 90%. Fortunately, nearly all grandstand seats are under cover, the C2 hillstand being the only other place with an awning for shelter. TV screens are located opposite most grandstands as well as the C2 hillstand. Their number is limited and they can be far away or too small from where you'll be watching. It can be a bit tricky to follow the action without it as the event commentary is provided in dual Malay and English over a single channel.

The excitement of the start and finish of the race can be experienced from the K1, F and Main Grandstand, but not all blocks and sections are equal.


K1 Grandstand - Image: Ferrari S.p.A

K1 is placed at Turn 1 and Turn 2. Sit in blocks A-D to enjoy a full view of the main straight for the start/finish line and pit exit. The TV screen installed at Turn 2 is a bit too far away from the spectators to be seen comfortably. Merchandise and catering options are limited. Be prepared for long queues for food or drink on the Sunday for the race.

Grandstand F is located at the other end of the pit straight, between Turns 6 and 7. The back of the starting grid is visible from blocks A-H, albeit from a distance. The views include the last corner, pit entry, main straight, the fast flowing Turns 5 and 6 as well as Turns 7 and 8. There is a TV screen opposite the grandstand but it is across the track near Turn7. It is the smallest grandstand around the Sepang Circuit. Facilities are limited and there are only a few stalls selling food and drinks. Last year, no alcoholic beverages were available from this location.


Grandstand F and Main Grandstand North - Image: Marussia F1 Team

The Main Grandstand offers a different experience depending on where you are sitting. The upper tier platforms allow to observe the cars without obstruction from the catch fence for a greater viewing pleasure and clearer photos or videos. All Main Grandstand ticket holders have access to the free seating Citrine section on the lower Grandstand South. The Main Grandstand Mall offers the most catering options and merchandise that can be found at the track.

Below is a list of features for each section of the Main Grandstand, in the format UPPER / Lower tier were applicable.

DIAMOND / Crystal
• Located across from the leading team pit garages (Mercedes, Red Bull, Williams, Ferrari and McLaren).
• View of the main straight for the start/finish line, grid preparations and podium for the end of race celebrations.
• Two TV screens opposite on the pit building.

EMERALD / Jade
• Faces the midfield team garages such as Force India, Toro Rosso and Lotus.
• View of the pit straight although it's a bit far from either Turn 1 or the podium to enjoy anything other than the sound of the cars at full speed as well as the pit action.
• Shares one of the TV screen with Diamond and Crystal blocks.

SAPPHIRE / Turquoise
• Situated across from the pit garages of the Marussia and Sauber teams as well as the pit exit.
• View of the action from the start/finish line all the way to Turn 2.
• Great place to watch the overtaking moves at the end of the main straight.
• One TV screen diagonally opposite installed at the end of the pit exit.

RUBY / Garnet
• Overlooks the pit entry.
• View of slow moving cars accelerating out of the last turn or entering the pit lane. The back of the grid, the start/finish line and the championship winning team's pit stops can also be seen from a distance.
• Shares TV screen with Diamond and Crystal blocks which is too far to be of any use without binoculars.
• Being elevated, the Ruby section also offers views of the fast flowing Turns 5, 6 and 7 in the background.
• Because of the way the top platforms of Grandstand North and Grandstand South are connected, a ticket for Ruby somehow gives access to the end of Topaz section.


Image: Sepang International Circuit Sdn Bhd.

TOPAZ / Citrine
• View of the whole southern half of the track, from Turn 8 all the way down to the end of back straight, inclusive of the Turn 9 hairpin and the sweeping Turns 12 / 13.
• Only one TV screen placed in the middle of this very long grandstand. In the past, it was opposite Topaz S2.04 seats in block B. There are no designated seat numbers for Citrine, so arrive early on qualifying and race day to get yourself as close as possible to the TV screen.

TOWER 2 / Tower 1 / Tower North / Tower South
• Tower offers an excellent vantage point. The elevated Tower 2 and platform above overlook Turn 15, which is the second slowest corner of the Sepang Circuit, making it much easier to take pictures in focus from there than at any other point of the Main Grandstand.
• From Tower 2, drivers can be seen from Turn 5 all the way down to Turn 8 or diving in the pit entry. Chances are you'll even pick up who's coming in before the commentators do! The top platform gets very popular on Friday, beware the overcrowding.
• The view from Tower 1 is the same as for Tower 2 except it is mostly obstructed by the track fence.
• From Tower North, the view is similar to that of Garnet, except this block is even further from the TV screen located on the pit building.
• The Tower South view is limited to the stretch between Turn 8 and Turn 9 as well as the end of the back straight. It is also further away from the nearest TV screen. Somehow this section is priced more expensively than the adjacent Citrine.
• No TV screens in the immediate vicinity.

As far as spectator zones are concerned, overtaking generally happens at the end of both straights. The best grandstands for watching these are Sapphire/TurquoiseK1 or Tower South.

Of all the hillstands, C2 is not only covered but also quite long and offers the best viewing experience compared to C1, C3 and K2.


Main Grandstand South, Tower and Grandstand F - Image: Marussia F1 Team

 

 

5 // TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Stay in KL (or Bangi, Putrajaya, etc) on the Sunday night to avoid the stress of making it back to the airport on time. If you must fly out after the race, allow for a departure time that is at least four hours after a two-hour race cut-off e.g. a 9 PM flight or later for a 3 PM race start. It takes up two hours to reach the KLIA airport. For the best hotel prices, book accommodation up to 12 months in advance for the last weekend of March and the first of April and cancel the one you don't need once the official Formula 1 calendar is published in December.

The heat and humidity levels can be a little unpleasant. Wear light clothing and preferably shorts unlike the local custom of preferring trousers. Regardless of your ticket type, take a hat and sunscreen. Some of the bottom rows of grandstands K1 or F might not be totally covered from the sun for the duration of the event and there is little shade in the rest areas behind the Main Grandstand.

Public transport via the KLIA Transit transfer package is the fastest and easiest way to get to the Sepang Circuit from the city. From KL Sentral station, take the KLIA Ekspres train to the airport (30 minutes) then take the shuttle bus to the track (20 minutes). Please be aware the journey back on Saturday and Sunday take significantly longer due to the queues for the shuttle back and traffic on the roads. once inside the circuit, it is usually faster to walk to your gate than wait for the circuit internal shuttle.

The weather can be a little erratic, so bring an umbrella. Ponchos will be sticky and uncomfortable. If you hold a ticket for one of the hillstands, you may want to bring something to sit on (e.g. a plastic bag) in case it rains.


K2 hillstand - Image: Ferrari S.p.A

Taxi drivers can get a bit lost with the temporary signage in place for the F1 weekend. Make sure you have a map so that you know where the closest drop off point is for your grandstand. Not many people like long walks in the heat and humidity.

Food and drinks aren't allowed at the track. They are however reasonably priced compared to other grands prix and bottled water is fairly cheap (around RM5 / $1.60 / £1 / €1.25). The Main Grandstand has more food outlets and stalls than grandstands K1, F or any of the hillstands, where catering options are limited.

The cleanliness of the facilities vary from one part of the circuit to another. It's best to bring your own hand sanitiser as there may not always soap to wash your hands.

The event commentary is provided in dual Malay and English. Even with lower noise levels than in the past, a set of canalphones will block the excessive noise from the cars, so bring an FM radio and tune in to 90.8 FM rather than relying on the track public announcement system to follow the action. The Official F1® App offers full English commentary from Sky or the BBC to its subscribers.

On Friday, or if you have a ticket for the Topaz section, an good spot for shooting videos is halfway between Turn 8 and the hairpin at Turn 9. As cars disappear towards Turn 10, you can carry on panning towards the beginning of the back straight (Turn 14) all the way down Turn 15 (last corner) so as to grab the next car coming from Turn 8. Bring a monopod to stabilise your camera or camcorder. Cars can be much further away than usual considering how much you can see of the track from there and you'll probably need to zoom in quite a bit.


Tower 1, 2 and North platforms- Image: Ferrari S.p.A

 

 

6 // USEFUL LINKS TO PREPARE YOUR MALAYSIA GP TRIP

sepangcircuit.com - ticket sales (MYR) and event information
bookF1.com - our GBP/USD/EUR/AUD/CAD ticketing partner
gpticketshop.com - our USD Paddock Club ticketing partner

kliaekspres.com/formula-1-petronas-malaysia-grand-prix-2015 - KLIA Transit train transfer info and tickets
www.myrapid.com.my - Skybus and public transport information and tickets

Booking.com - our reliable hotel reservation partner
samasamahotels.com - KLIA hotel
sepang.concordehotelsresorts.com Sepang hotel accessible via free shuttle from KLIA
www.tunehotels.com/my/en/our-hotels/klia2 - klia2 hotel

digi.com.my - 4G mobile phone and data service

formula1.com - general information and schedule

 

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the contribution of the following spectators who submitted a review of their Formula 1 grand prix experience on Malaysia since 2011:

@heyk (Lower Main Grandstand North - Jade)
@MARTINrussellHO (Friday free entry - Main Grandstand North, Main Grandstand South, Tower, K1)
@AnaColinaF1 (Lower Main Grandstand North)
• Lisa M. (Lower Main Grandstand South - Citrine)
• A handful of anonymous reviewers (Diamond, K1, Jade and Friday free entry)

The author has attended this grand prix on 2011 at the Ruby section of the Main Grandstand North.

Have you been to the Malaysia Grand Prix? You can help us to improve this guide by leaving your impression of this event in the 'Write a Review' section of this website.

If you would like to add further information or correct any of the above article, please leave your comments below.

Malaysia Grand Prix spectator guide
 

F1 ticket partner

Banner

F1 & MotoGP ticket partner

Banner

Hotel Reservation Partner

Banner

MotoGP ticket partner

Banner

Find us on Facebook

GrandPrixAdvisor.com Poll

Which F1 race would you rather go to in the Middle East?
 

Guests Online

We have 111 guests online