Leafield Technical Centre, UK – 21st March 2014
Race Laps: 56
Very high ambient temperature and humidity
Grip normally gradually increases through the weekend.
No major bumps (track was re-surfaced after 2007 race)
Kerbs not a problem
Top speed can be reached in either T1 or T15 depending on wind direction
Medium brake severity
Traction issues and understeer in high speed sections are main balance issues
Overtaking chance: T15
Ride height setting particularity: none
Engine severity: high
Gearbox severity: medium
Lat/Long grip: lateral
Aero eff ratio: medium
Track grip evo during w/e: medium / high
Aero settings: high
Brake wear severity: medium
Brake cooling necessity: medium
Malaysian GP lowdown with Renault Sport F1 track support leader, Cedrik Staudohar
Main challenges of Sepang for the Power Units: “Like Australia, managing fuel consumption in Sepang will be quite a challenge. Of the six main components of the PU, the ICE will be under the most pressure in Sepang. In the past, the humidity has made Sepang a little bit easier on engines since power comes down as the water content in the air increases. With a turbo engine, however, the air intake is controlled at all times regardless of ambient conditions, so those two long straights will really start to hurt.”
Main energy recovery points: “The two long straights of over 1km each give plenty of opportunity for the MGU-H to be recharged. The heavy braking points of the hairpin (Turn 15), first corner complex and the mid to low speed corners in the third sector should allow the MGU-K to recover energy to feed back into the battery.”
Difficulty rating: “One of the hardest of the year for the Power Unit due to the long straights. The high air temperature is usually a concern as we have to choose the correct cooling level. The high chance of rain could also make the cars difficult to control due to the increased torque and lack of grip so the focus will be on good driveability without too much wheelspin.”
What to watch out for: “The start of the weekend in Melbourne was disappointing as we got to grips with a variety of small, but destructive, problems. After a much more positive qualifying we were hopeful of a finish in the race but a couple of issues, on the chassis and engine side, stopped the cars. Our aim is clearly to have a clean weekend this time out.”
Caterham F1 Team Driver Quotes
Kamui Kobayashi, car #10: “The second race of the year is Malaysia and it’s our team’s first home race of the year, so it’s going to be a good week! I’ve obviously raced there a few times before, and finished in the points in 2011, and this year it would be great if we were able to fight for a point, but we’ll have to make sure we have a better Friday than we did in Australia if we’re going to have a stronger weekend at Sepang.
“The way we bounced back in qualifying in Melbourne showed a little bit of what we can do, but without any real laps in FP1 or FP2 we only had a very small chance to fight. With a proper Friday and Saturday program we can give ourselves the opportunity to show the true pace of the car, and prepare much more for the race. Obviously, I’d like to also make sure I don’t have the same brake problems that caused the accident in turn one in Australia – without that I think we’d have had a strong race and we’ll work as hard as we can to give ourselves the chance to really perform.
“Off track we’re going to be busy, especially on Tuesday night when I’m at a Renault event at Sepang and on Wednesday when we have a very packed schedule meeting sponsors and fans. We’ll be at the Pavilion Shopping Centre in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday afternoon from about 2pm meeting our fans so if anyone is in KL that afternoon they should come along. We’re also going to see AirAsia’s head office on Wednesday afternoon and meet their staff, so it’ll be good to see one of Tony’s other teams in action!”
Marcus Ericsson, car #9: “I can’t wait to get back in the car, especially after having a really good race until the oil pressure problem forced us to stop in Australia. It’s been great to read so many nice comments about what we did in the race after such a bad Friday, but now I want to get on with it again and go straight back to work.
“Sepang’s a track I’ve already raced on, so that’s obviously an advantage over Australia. I really like the heat and have trained hard all through the winter to prepare for races like Malaysia, so I’ll be 100% ready physically, but I’m still just loving being in F1 and for race two to be a home race for Caterham and on a track I know and like, that’s just really good for me. It’ll be great to see how much Caterham means to the Malaysian fans, and I’ve been told the autograph session on Sunday will be one of the real highlights of the year, so there’s a lot to be excited about!
“We obviously need a stronger weekend on track overall, and I know they guys back at the factory and at Renault have been working flat out to help us do so. Our race pace in Australia was pretty good, but with a full Friday and not having to use FP3 to catch up, I think we can start to unlock the real performance of this year’s car. If we can do that, and with the work being put in by everyone, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t, I think Malaysia could be a strong weekend for our team.”