After the artificial confines of Melbourne, Formula One hit a proper circuit for the second round in Malaysia. The Sepang circuit is fast becoming a classic, with its early position in the calendar setting it out to be the first true test of the cars. Which is why this race is the one to focus on for technical insights.
Its long straights and hard braking into tighter corner sequences separate the emphasis between aerodynamic and mechanical efficiency, with the circuit's straights demanding an aerodynamically efficient car while the braking and slow corners on medium downforce settings require a car to be well balanced, not to mention good on its tyres over the hot tarmac and the heat that tests the engine and cooling systems.
This year's race saw a raft of small developments to the cars; some being specific to the cooling demands of Sepang, while others being first steps in developing the car during the year.
This year the race was preceded by an unusual gap of three weeks, which allowed all but one team the unusual opportunity to test at the circuit the week before the race - an advantage only usually seen in Monza, which has a test in the month before the race.