The Malaysian round of the championship takes place at the Sepang International Circuit near Kuala Lumpur. It's 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.
It has the cheapest tickets on the calendar and is competitively priced against other grands prix 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.
Unlike the semi-street circuit of Melbourne, it is possible to see as much as half of the circuit from your seat, and the view from most grandstands is very good. The track features several fast sweeping bends which give the cars a noticeable rhythm that is a pleasure to drive or to watch.
K1 Grandstand - PHOTO : FREDERIC LE FLOC'H / DPPI for Renault Sport F1
As far as the support races are concerned, the GP2 Series no longer features on the program, however, the schedule once again includes the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. There will also be a concert after the race, headlined this year by Calvin Harris.
KL is developing at such an impressive pace that it is probably worth of a yearly visit. The atmosphere during the weekend is festive and charming thanks to its diverse mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures. The city is also making a name for itself as a major 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 grandiose Petronas Twin Towers is almost compulsory.
There is a major rule change in Formula 1 for 2014. Gone are the screaming 2.4-litre V8 power trains and in are the quieter 1.6-litre V6 turbo hybrid power units.
Whilst this is probably the single biggest change in the sport since 1989, one of the most noticeable differences from last year's cars is the nose section which has been lowered in two places.
The tip has now a maximum height of 18.5 cm compared to 55 cm last year and the section where the nosecone joins the rest of the car has been lowered by 10 cm, from 62.5 to 52.5 cm. There are other aero changes, most notably at the back of the car where only one exhaust pipe is allowed and there are no more blown diffusers. However, it is the strikingly different look at the front of the cars that has generated the most comments over the internet.
The most different aspect to spectators attending race weekends this year will be the lower noise levels. The previous engines revved up to 18,000 rpm whereas the new generation of power units will only manage a maximum of 15,000 rpm. Earplugs could be a thing of the past. A spectator at the Jerez test posted the the video below on YouTube. Have a listen at the Ferrari.
If you thought this sounds like a Le Mans prototype car, you're probably not too far from truth. Except that the World Endurance Championship features a variety of power trains. The Toyota is propelled by a V8 petrol hybrid unit, the Audi a V6 diesel hybrid and Porsche are rumoured to run a 4 cylinder petrol hybrid engine.