1. The 19th Malaysian Grand Prix will be the last for the foreseeable future.
2. Several F1 tracks have had sessions interrupted by animals on track, but whereas the odd stray dog in Sao Paulo, groundhog in Montreal or hare in Silverstone have caused amusement, the Sepang track has caught our attention with some rather scarier fauna. In the inaugural 1999 race, a very large python appeared on track, and a civet (a form of wild cat) was also spotted prowling around the barriers.
3. Only one Malaysian driver has competed in Formula 1: Alex Yoong started his F1 adventure with a seat fitting in our Faenza facility, as he drove in 2001, in the last three races, and 2002 for Minardi.
(From left: the Durian fruit; Alex Yoong together with Paul Stoddart, Giancarlo Minardi and Mark Webber celebrating 275 GPs for the Minardi F1 Team)
4. You are probably aware of the world’s stinkiest fruit, the Durian, which is banned in hotel rooms in Malaysia. Well, apparently the country also boasts the worst smelling and biggest flower in the world, the Rafflesia, which can grow up to a metre in diameter. Its bad smell has earned it the nickname “corpse flower.”
5. “Wei macha, you want makan here or tapau?” (translation: Do you want to eat here or take out?) This phrase is often used to illustrate Malaysia’s linguistic diversity, as it contains words from Tamil, English, Malay, and Chinese.
6. Many F1 folk stay in the hotels in Putrajaya for this race. The area is home to the biggest roundabout in the world, with a diameter of 3.5 kilometres.
7. Many buildings in Malaysia rename their fourth floor “3A.” This is because the Chinese word for four sounds like the word for death.
8. Do not point at people in Malaysia with your index finger, as it is considered rude. You can bend the finger and point a knuckle instead.
9. The last time half points were awarded at a Grand Prix was in 2009 in Sepang. Jenson Button won the rain-soaked race when only 31 of the 56 laps were completed.
(From left: the Batu caves and a picture of the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix)
10. Fancy some Malaysian culture? If you are staying in the area before moving on to Suzuka, then a visit to the Batu caves is recommended. A short train ride from the capital Kuala Lumpur, the caves are home to one of the most visited Hindu shrines outside India. Be warned, access to the shrine involves a steep climb of 272 steps.
11. When it comes to Malaysians who are famous outside their own country, then top of the list is probably the shoe maker Jimmy Choo.
12. Malaysia’s Genting Highlands area is home to the world’s biggest hotel (by room numbers) the First World Hotel, which, at the last count, had 7351 rooms, split between two towers.