It seems hard to believe that F1 has been going to Malaysia for 17 years. Back then the likes of Arrows, Prost and Stewart still existed, Max Verstappen was two years old, and Tiff Needell was still a presenter on Top Gear.
Tiff Needell held the lap record at the Shah Alam circuit, which was Malaysia’s premier race track before the Sepang International Circuit was built. “The failed racing driver” (as Jeremy Clarkson liked to refer to him in reference to his sole Grand Prix for Ensign in 1980) was therefore the ideal person for the BBC to send to Malaysia to review this new venue for Top Gear before it held its first Grand Prix.
Even though the Proton Tiff is driving in the video hasn’t aged well, the track certainly has. As well as being Hermann Tilke’s first completely clean track design it’s also one of his best. It certainly gets the thumbs up from Tiff, though the less said about his qualifying prediction the better.