Sam Michael, Technical Director: Sepang is dominated by two high-speed corner combinations as well a number of slow-speed corners. There are three long straights at Sepang so set-up is geared towards those high speed sections as efficiency is well rewarded. We expect the moveable rear wing to have a greater influence on overtaking here, even more than it did in Australia.
We have some aero upgrades for the front end of the FW33 that we will be bringing to Malaysia, while we will also have some improvements on the KERS together with solutions for the transmission issues we experienced in Melbourne. It will be interesting to see how the FW33 performs on this medium to high-speed circuit. Our target for the race is to finish with both cars in the points.
Rubens Barrichello: Malaysia is a really nice place to visit and a track that I really enjoy racing on. It is a real test for the drivers though due to the heat and humidity. Malaysia will be hard on the tyres so it will be important to have a good car set-up. I am looking forward to getting there and to driving on such an incredible track. I hope to do well and my aim is to bring home some points.
Pastor Maldonado: After a difficult start to the season in Melbourne, I’m more than ready to get to Malaysia. Despite the result in Australia, I am now feeling more confident with both the car and within the team. Sepang is a very technical circuit, but I already know the track as I raced there in the 2009 GP2 Asia race, finishing second. I think that we will be able to get more performance out of our car there as there is a lot of potential if we keep working hard.
Looking ahead, our objective is to continue to improve race after race. I would like to be in the top ten in both qualifying and the race, and I think we can achieve that. Of course, it would have been better if we had been able to finish the race in Melbourne, but the positive is that I’m now more experienced and feel confident with how a Formula One weekend unfolds and all the procedures involved.
From Cosworth’s perspective: Malaysia is all about heat and humidity, which has a big implication on engine power output. We run specific engine settings to counteract these effects where possible, as we do at other venues with this sort of climate, such as Singapore. The high water vapour content displaces air which could otherwise be combusted with fuel, thereby reducing the power of the engines.
Cooling can be an issue, mainly due to the high ambient temperatures. In this instance the humidity actually helps, because the high water content acts to increase the coolers’ efficiency. The circuit has an interesting blend of corners, some quick and some slow, with two very long straights. The driver spends over 10 seconds at full throttle along each. As such, it is a good test of the overall engine package, as well as driveability, in terms of both useable torque and engine map robustness.
From Pirelli’s perspective: We were very pleased with our Grand Prix debut in Australia, and we’ll be using the hard and the soft tyres again as prime and option in Sepang, just like we did in Melbourne. Malaysia however is a very different type of track with distinctly different ambient conditions and an aggressive surface, so it’s going to be even harder on tyres and cars. We’ve been able to appreciate from working with Williams just how much strength in depth there is to the whole outfit, so Malaysia is bound to present several opportunities for the team capitalise on.