FRIDAY 28 – SUNDAY 30 MARCH KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA RACE 2 OF 19
Being a British-based team, the weather in Malaysia is never far from our minds. The heat and humidity can be stifling at Sepang, which makes the weekend tough for everyone. The drivers lose up to 3kg in sweat and the pit crew gets no respite from the heat in their fireproof overalls. The track layout is popular with drivers and
engineers alike. Its eclectic mix of corners – some are fast, some are longradius and there are plenty of elevation changes – make a well-balanced and aerodynamically-efficient car vital to competitiveness. Add in the chance of a downpour (Nico Rosberg led for Williams in 2009, until a sudden rainstorm brought out the red flag) and you have the potential for a highly unpredictable and exciting Grand Prix. Rod Nelson Sepang international Circuit has a really nice blend of low and high speed corners, with Turns 5 to 8 in particular getting the drivers attention – especially the bump in Turn 6. Turn 13 – 14 is particularly challenging, requiring as it does a good deal of turning and braking at the same time, and there’s a lot of laptime to be had there. There is also the weather to think about in Malaysia as it rains most afternoons, and the annual rainfall is four times that of Silverstone. It’s always hot and humid and new thunderstorms can bubble up particularly quickly. We are looking forward to giving the Williams Mercedes FW36 a good run out on it’s first permanent racing circuit of the year.
Felipe Massa Malaysia is a nice place to race, it’s a hot and humid race which makes it a physically tough one for the drivers. The heat also has a big effect on the tyres and how quickly degradation happens. These extreme temperatures means Malaysia is less like any other circuit we will race at. When you go to Malaysia you can never count out the weather either, there is always the chance of rain, its heavy rain too, and this can happen at the end of nearly every day. All of these factors mean the race is always exciting from a fans point of view but these changes are tough for the drivers. I’m looking forward to having a good race there.
Valtteri Bottas Malaysia will be a real challenge for us, but also something the other teams will have to deal with too. Cooling will be a major factor as the temperatures are so high, there is also still a lot to learn about the new power units, so this heat adds to this learning curve. It could be the hottest race this season and having it at the start of the season when people are trying to develop what they have isn’t the easiest of tasks. Physically for the drivers it isn’t easy; we have to work hard in the off-season so we are ready for times like this. The track itself is very nice; it has some great high speed sections which are my favourite parts of the circuit.