Formula1: Malaysia to be Pirelli’s toughest test image

The searing heat in Kuala Lumpur means that the Malaysian Grand Prix has always been one of the toughest races on tyres. The Malaysian grand prix next weekend could be the toughest challenge for Pirelli’s tyres in 2011.

That is the admission of the Italian marque’s racing boss Paul Hembery, after Melbourne last weekend pleasantly surprised teams and drivers in the wake of a winter period of extreme tyre degradation.

Located near Kuala Lumpur International Airport, approximately 60 km south of the capital city Kuala Lumpur, designed by German designer Hermann Tilke, the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) is famous for its enormous grandstands, featuring hibiscus (the national flower of Malaysia) style roofs which dominate both straights and for the humidity and weather changes.

It’s always very hot and humid for the riders and teams and often in the afternoon very heavy short sharp thundery showers can fall, just to make practice, qualifying and racing even more demanding.

Hembery told Finland’s Turun Sanomat: “The nature of the Sepang circuit and the more than 50 degrees of track temperature will probably be the most aggressive combination for our tyres.

“Of course, any rain could change the situation, but it is probable that under normal circumstances the Malaysian grand prix will see an average of four stops (per driver),” he revealed.