Formula 1 at the Sepang International Circuit returned for the first time since the death of MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli at the track last year with drivers acknowledging that it would be a difficult weekend in the context.
The Italian rider lost control of his bike at the circuit in October last season and was hit by other competitors resulting in the loss of 24-year-old's life. The Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend is the first motorsport event at the track since the tragic accident.
“From now on, coming here will never be the same again as it will always make one think of Marco," Fernando Alonso said. "I think the Ferrari family and all Italians who love sport and motorcycling will remember him always.
"His death was something one could never have expected. We will remember him always and he will always be a hero to us,” he pointed out.
The double world champion added that racing at Sepang "will be always sad knowing that one of our colleagues died here"
On Thursday members of the Ferrari team visited Turn 11, where Simoncelli had crashed, in tribute of Simoncelli's memory with a message on the pit board that read ‘sempre con noi', which translates 'Forever with us’.
"I think it was the least we could do for him, for his family and for all his fans. I think that all weekend long, we will drive here with thoughts of Marco,” Felipe Massa said.
"We are here to race and to do our job and this is not the only race track where bad things have happened. If possible it would be nice to think that, on Sunday, I could have a good race in his memory,” the Brazilian added.