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Malaysia preview quotes - Ferrari, Force India, HRT & more 05 Apr 2011

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Race Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 27 March 2011 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 27 March 2011 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Team Lotus.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 25 March 2011 Jerome d'Ambrosio (BEL) Virgin Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Race Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 27 March 2011 (L to R): Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber with team mate Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 27 March 2011

With an overtaking-friendly track, combining long, high-speed straights with technical twisty sections, there’s more than enough for the drivers to get stuck into over the course of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend. But this year there’s an additional curveball to contend with thanks to the new Pirelli tyres, which are as-yet untested in the kind of sizzling temperatures we tend to see in Kuala Lumpur. Key team personnel and, of course, the drivers discuss their chances of success at the challenging Sepang International Circuit…

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
2010 Qualifying - 19th, 2010 Race - 13th

“The fact that the weather can change so quickly here makes the preparation work for the various phases of work on track more stressful. Suddenly it can go from sunshine to a short sharp shower and you need to be prepared for every eventuality. It’s not just a problem for us drivers, as its affects the whole team: in some cases you need to be ready with a plan B or C, or even maybe a D for all the various scenarios!

“We know we have to improve our performance level, but we are equally aware that in the end, the race result was not such a disaster. We will have a few minor updates on the car, but nothing very significant or the sort of thing you could say would be the key to take a leap forward in performance terms. I believe we must stay concentrated on our own work and try to understand how to get all the potential out of the 150° Italia and I’m sure there’s plenty to come. Before we achieve that, it’s pointless standing here making predictions about how the weekend will turn out. We just have to tackle it one day at a time.

“My happiest memory of Sepang circuit goes back to my first-ever pole position, which I secured on 22 March 2003. Neither myself, nor my team, Renault, had expected that sort of result on Saturday morning, but come the end of qualifying, we found ourselves with both cars on the front row. It was a very happy moment and I can still clearly remember how the afternoon went, then the dinner and Sunday morning, when I was thinking about what would happen in the race. Every time I come back here, I think of that weekend, at the happiness of taking pole and the feeling of trepidation going into the race. I did not win, as later happened in 2005 and 2007, but I was still third and so managed to jump up on the podium for the first time. It was definitely a weekend to remember for a long time!”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari
2010 Qualifying - 21st, 2010 Race - 7th

“Here in Malaysia for the second race, there will still be a lot of unanswered questions as we start practice, because if you compare Melbourne with Sepang, the difference is as clear as black and white. The Melbourne asphalt is not very abrasive, the temperature is cool, the track is more of a city track, even if it is a real race circuit and the corner types are very different. Sepang is very hot, it’s a proper race track, with a lot of high speed sections, fast corners and many changes of direction. Then from a physical point of view the difference is also obvious: driving Albert Park is very easy and you get out of the car at the end of the race feeling completely fresh, whereas in Malaysia you lose a lot of fluid and lose weight and generally it is much more demanding. For all these reasons, I expect to see a completely different performance from our team and from our car.

“With the moveable rear wing, the situation will be interesting here, because for the moment, the plan is to be allowed to use DRS during the race on the straight in front of the pits, but at Sepang, the straight that runs back the other way is actually longer. It is also true that it would offer a higher chance of overtaking. So, we are waiting for the final decision from the FIA to see if we use DRS on the front straight, the back one or both. The right decision could make the race more interesting for drivers and the spectators too. Personally, I am not sure that allowing DRS on both straights is the best option, because I think it might actually make overtaking too easy. You have to get the right balance between helping the chances of overtaking and having almost too much passing. At Sepang, the two straights follow one another, so if you are quicker than the car ahead, you might not even try and pass on the first straight, preferring to get well prepared and as close as possible, before then having a simple overtaking move on the second straight.

“Looking at the weather here, it seems inevitable that we will have the usual heavy showers at some point every afternoon, which will be interesting. So far, I have just had one day of testing on Pirelli rain tyres, at the Jerez test back in February, which is not enough to have a good understanding. We will have to be well prepared for any eventuality and it will be an interesting experiment seeing how the tyres work in both very hot and very wet conditions. This will therefore be a very important weekend for Pirelli after what was a relatively easy debut for them in Melbourne.”

Pat Fry, Ferrari deputy technical director
“The most obvious requirement is that your car must have a sensible amount of cooling because of the high temperatures. But you do not want a situation where you achieve this by opening apertures in the bodywork, which although effective in cooling the car mean you lose a lot of downforce. Therefore, you need a car that cools well and has a reasonable amount of downforce, particularly to deal with the high speed combination of corners at the start of Sector Two. Another important factor is keeping an eye on when the rain showers are due to arrive: normally it is late afternoon, just in time to make qualifying or the race more exciting!”

Adrian Sutil, Force India
2010 Qualifying - 4th, 2010 Race - 5th

“Malaysia was a great race last year, one of my best results, so I am really looking forward to racing there again. It's a challenging circuit and with a good balance on the car you can definitely enjoy driving it. It is also usually an interesting weekend from a strategy point of view because you don't know how the rain is going to affect the teams, so it is challenging, but exciting too.”

Paul Di Resta, Force India
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“I participated in FP1 last year (in Malaysia), but did not complete a great deal of laps. I really enjoyed the track, although the heat and humidity is much tougher than anywhere else we drive on the calendar. It will be interesting to see how we perform there and I am very much looking forward to my second race with the team.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
“I think we have every reason to be confident, but the weather often plays a big role over the Malaysian weekend. Adrian drove a great race there last year and brought home 10 championship points, so we have something good to build on. The VJM04 has shown us that we are capable of being in the points already, so let's hope we have a clean race this week with no incidents.”

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“The last time I raced in Malaysia, back in 2005, I had huge support from the local fans. A lot of Indians also made the trip to come and watch the race, so my memories of this Grand Prix are fantastic. I also love local food as it is nice and spicy just like back home. Despite driving the car for very few laps in Australia, I could sense that the F111 has the potential to be an improvement over last years’ machine. Sepang is a very demanding track technically, both for the driver and the car. It will be a good proving ground for the F111. Our primary goal for the weekend is to get as many miles under our belt as possible. It is only with more and more miles of running that we will be able to begin to understand the F111 and to start extracting its potential. Qualifying for the race and finishing it will be our primary goals for Malaysia. I have been working very hard on my outdoor training back home in India ever since I announced my comeback into F1. The weather back home is quite close to what we will experience over the race weekend here so I’m confident that fitness-wise, I will be ready for Sepang.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT
2010 Qualifying - 10th, 2010 Race - DNF

“The Malaysian Grand Prix has the added factor of extreme weather conditions. I remember last year’s qualifying session which was affected by the rain as a really challenging session. I think Sepang will be a really good track for the F111 because it’s a very technical and demanding track. It’s a challenging venue for our first proper race but a place where we will get a lot of information on the car. Our expectations for the weekend are to do well in qualifying and finish the race, confirming the performance and reliability of the car. I am really confident and motivated for this race. I’m sure things will be a lot different from Australia because we are better prepared and conscious of what we need to do.”

Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
“The expectations for Malaysia are to get back to normality. We know that the car has potential and we hope that we will be able to get all updates on the cars. The 107 percent rule should not be an issue under normal circumstances. The target is to do as many laps as possible in free practice in order to prepare for the qualifying session and for the race."

Nick Heidfeld, Renault
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“You always look forward to the next one, even more so when you have had a difficult race. At the moment my objective is to forget about Australia and look forward to Malaysia. I’ve some good memories including my podium for Williams in 2005 and my second place finish a couple of years ago in the very wet race. Also, I set my first fastest lap in a race there in 2008 - that was the year I had fun with a double overtaking move on Alonso and Coulthard! It can be special because of the weather. Sometimes it’s more like swimming than driving with the monsoons. It has a nice flow with some quick corners, as well as some overtaking opportunities.”

Vitaly Petrov, Renault
2010 Qualifying - 11th, 2010 Race - DNF

“We now have a better idea of where we stand compared to our competitors, but I think we need to wait a few more races to see the real picture. We know that Red Bull and McLaren are very strong, too, but hopefully we can keep pushing them hard. It’s difficult to say. The big question will be on the tyres because we have not really run in high temperatures. I know we have some more aero parts coming for Sepang which will help. I like the track, but it’s difficult because there are lots of different corners and finding the ideal set-up isn’t easy. You need a car that works everywhere: in the fast corners, in the slow corners, and you also need to be good on the brakes. I think it’s one of the more difficult tracks because of the mix of corners - both high and low speed. But it’s somewhere I’ve always enjoyed racing and you always have to be ready for the weather.”

Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
“Today’s development rate is important and the capacity for the technical team to deliver a new package to the car is crucial in the fight for the championship. I think in Malaysia the order will be different, and for the race after that there will be another new order, so it’s not representative for the whole season, no. I remain fully confident the team can repeat the performance of last year. We proved in 2010 that we had the ability to develop the car at a very high level and I see no reason why we cannot do the same this year, especially since we’ve worked on improving our processes and our production capacity.”

James Allison, Renault technical director
“Well, I don’t want to be too specific - you know how paranoid we engineers are in this business - but I can say that we will bring a moderate upgrade package to Malaysia worth several tenths of a second. We will be making changes to the front and rear wing in addition to several items of bodywork.”

Rubens Barrichello, Williams
2010 Qualifying - 7th, 2010 Race - 12th

“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, Williams
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“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.”

Sam Michael, Williams 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.”

Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport director
"We were absolutely thrilled by our Grand Prix debut in Australia, but we're aware that Malaysia should be a very different proposition, with higher temperatures and increased degradation. We said all along that we would be seeing two to three pit stops in Australia, but in Malaysia I think that figure is likely to increase to three to four. They say that it's never a question of if it rains at Sepang but when, so the performance of our wet tyres could be crucial this weekend and we're certainly looking forward to seeing them out on track. We never believe in standing still at Pirelli, which is why the teams will have two extra sets of slick tyres available to them during Friday's free practice sessions for evaluation purposes. With testing not allowed during the season, this gives us a valuable opportunity to gather more data and feedback, while it also gives the teams an interesting taste of what could be coming in the future."

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus
2010 Qualifying - 15th, 2010 Race - DNF

"Malaysia has a combination of all kinds of corners. The first few corners are very slow chicanes, then Turns Four, through Five, Six, Seven and Eight are very fast and you need to have a really good balance there. Then towards the end of the lap there’s two very difficult braking points, corners where you’re turning and braking into the corner. I think it’s Turns 11 and 13, both right-handers. You can take a couple of deeper lines there. Those are the main points. Getting your braking stability right in those kind of corners is one of the key elements to making a good lap time in Sepang. Physically it’s one of the toughest races, maybe together with Singapore which is also very difficult. It’s something we start preparing for immediately after Australia. I arrived in Malaysia immediately after Melbourne and I started preparing the hydration and working with my nutritionist to prepare for the race itself. If you prepare properly it’s no issue. I’m looking forward to it - I enjoy being in the heat and I’m not distracted by it at all ."

Jarno Trulli, Lotus
2010 Qualifying - 18th, 2010 Race - 17th

"I'm really fired up for this weekend's race. This is our home race and we want to do our best to make the fans proud of us. There will be a lot of support for us in the stands and having been here for a week I've already seen that the level of support has gone up a lot since last year, so whatever happens it will be a great weekend for us. I've been keeping busy since arriving and spent a couple of days up in the Malaysian hills training on my bike with a local pro team and that's given me an outstanding preparation for what is always a tough weekend in the car. Sepang is a very challenging track. It's technical and it pushes the drivers and the cars very hard but we believe that the package we have can help us have a good weekend here in Malaysia and I am really looking forward to seeing how the car responds in the heat. In a perfect world we would be able to do something amazing in front of our home fans, but let's see. It's still early days for us, and while we are clearly closer to the midfield teams than we were a year ago we still have some time to make up, so I think we are all being realistic and working very hard to continue moving forward this year."

Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
"Team Lotus returns home and we are all excited about the race ahead. There will be three teams here with links to Malaysia but only one team that has Malaysian blood running deep in its veins, with Malaysian staff contributing to our growth at every level and which has been built from the ground up in the same style as Formula One’s grandee teams. We are enormously proud of what we have already achieved in just 18 months and we have done it through hard work and dedication, not by buying seemingly instant success through stickers on a car. We will continue to work extremely hard as we develop the car and the team, this season and for many years to come, but we will not rush into anything. Our team is growing in the right way, just like AirAsia has done, and when we look back in years to come history will show that by laying solid foundations now we will achieve long-term success."

Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
"We left Australia with mixed feelings about the race. Heikki's pace in the early laps was a good step forward for us, and Jarno's race pace took us close to what we showed in the pre-season tests we can do, but we did struggle all weekend with the tyres and a couple of small issues that we have now had time to resolve back at the factory. The conditions at Sepang should suit us more favourably. I think the track temperatures will help us show more of the car's true pace and as the layout it is quite similar to Barcelona - relatively high aero and a good mix of low and high speed turns - I think we will be able to extract more performance from the car than we were able to in Melbourne. The whole team is excited about the challenge ahead - they are energised by the huge local support we have and that will help us all put in a performance that will do our fans proud."

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2010 Qualifying - 3rd, 2010 Race - 1st

“Malaysia is the first real track we go to, as Australia is a semi-street circuit. It’s hot and rains every day, but the question is when and how much? It will be a tricky one. Circuit-wise you’ve got everything in there: Turn 14 requires you to brake the car while you’re still turning into the corner, which makes it quite challenging. Looking to China, we have good memories from there two years ago. We struggled to repeat it last year, but we will go back there and try again. I like the track and I’ve got some good points there in the past. Generally the overseas races are special, as you go there a few days earlier than usual, so you get to see different things. I enjoy that and am looking forward to it.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull
2010 Qualifying - 1st, 2010 Race - 2nd

“Malaysia is a sensational circuit. It always provides an interesting race, especially with the weather. It’s a great challenge for the driver too in terms of temperature and we’ll need to see how the tyres go there. We got a lot of information from the first race and we expect our car to be good in Malaysia - I want to get some champagne and up on to the steps. China will be similar to Australia, as it’s pretty cold when we go there. I think it will be an interesting race with the rear wing due to the long straights.”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP
2010 Qualifying - 8th, 2010 Race - DNF

"We consider Malaysia as one of our home Grands Prix, so it obviously gives us a big boost to go there and have the support of Petronas and the Malaysian people. The track itself is great as it gives you a wide variety of possibilities during every lap. You can take multiple lines through some of the corners, which is something you can do hardly anywhere else. I have always liked driving there, and I look forward to doing it again.

"There is absolutely no doubt we want to do better than in the opening race, which was a disappointment for all of us. We clearly see that as a challenge and it is much too early to write us off. Everybody in the team remains positive and is in a fighting mood. So I expect a better weekend for us to come; a weekend we can build on."

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP
2010 Qualifying - 2nd, 2010 Race - 3rd

"To be honest, Sepang is my favourite circuit on the Formula One calendar. It's fast and challenging with a nice layout and a real variation of corners which make it an exciting track to drive. Last year I qualified second and achieved the team's first podium of the season. I have a good feeling coming back here this year and hope to achieve a good result at the home race of our title partner Petronas.

"We had a tough weekend in Australia but the team has worked hard and we are confident that the car will be running reliably in Malaysia. Melbourne is a unique circuit and we know that we will have a much better understanding of our level of performance after the next races. I think we can surprise people next Sunday. We know that the car is fast from the last test in Barcelona, so now we have to work on proving that potential."

Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"As the home race of our title partner, Petronas, the Malaysian Grand Prix is a very important and prestigious race for our team. The whole team enjoys our annual visit to both Kuala Lumpur and the Sepang International Circuit, and the unparalleled hospitality of our friends from Petronas and the Malaysian fans.

"We endured a difficult weekend at the first race of the season, despite having reasonable expectations after completing a successful testing programme in Barcelona. We suffered a number of problems which resulted in a far from optimum car for qualifying and the race, and then were unlucky to suffer a disappointing double retirement for Michael and Nico.

"Our priority since Melbourne has been to regroup back at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth, to review the weekend in detail, and to establish the best way to achieve the full potential of the car from Malaysia onwards. How we respond to the disappointment of Melbourne, and the challenges we faced, will be a true measure of our team."

Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"The Sepang circuit presents many challenges. It has a wide variety of corners with varying radii which demand good aerodynamic stability and efficiency from a Formula One car. There are four major braking events during the lap, and extreme climatic conditions are the norm in Sepang, with high temperatures and humidity - which create a high likelihood of rain in the late afternoon during both qualifying and the race.

"The Malaysian Grand Prix is one of our home races, with our title partner Petronas headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, and Nico scored the first podium for our team last year at this circuit with a third-place finish.

"Since the first race in Australia, we have worked hard in Brackley and Brixworth to analyse the reasons behind, and to solve, the reliability and performance problems which hampered our first race weekend of the season. Our target is to be in better shape in Malaysia."

Timo Glock, Virgin
2010 Qualifying - 16th, 2010 Race - DNF

“I feel like I have got back on track very quickly with the fitness side of things and I am spending the time between Australia and Malaysia making sure I am fully acclimatised and ready for the challenge. Malaysia is one of the hardest races on the Formula One calendar and one for which fitness is very important. The heat and humidity are really punishing and so this is where the physical training really pays off. I feel like I have got back on track very quickly with the fitness side of things and I am spending the time between Australia and Malaysia making sure I am fully acclimatised and ready for the challenge. I have lots of good memories from Malaysia - I finished on the podium in 2009 after chasing the leader, Jenson Button, before the race got red-flagged due to the big rainstorm. The Sepang track has a lot of character and it’s very physical, with Turn 14 being one of the toughest corners of all. It’s a race I will enjoy so we will try to make the best of our current package and aim to get both cars to the finish.”

Jerome D’Ambrosio, Virgin
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“I really learned a lot in Melbourne and I was very happy with the weekend as a starting point. I really enjoyed the whole experience of my debut Grand Prix. I learned a lot in Melbourne and I was very happy with the weekend as a starting point, so I’m looking forward to more of the same in Kuala Lumpur. I do know this track - the Sepang International Circuit - as I competed here in GP2 Asia. It’s a really interesting circuit layout and the challenge of racing in these tough conditions gives you a lot of satisfaction because it’s the best way of finding out just how fit you are. I think our focus will be on trying to do a better job in qualifying and getting both cars home again. Small but important steps for us until we get to Europe.”

John Booth, Virgin team principal
“Our focus for now is on gathering as much data as possible to plough back into the development cycle to ensure we can go on to make those bigger steps through the season. This round of long-haul races means there are few developments we can bring to the car until the next significant upgrade for Turkey. Our focus for now is on gathering as much data as possible to plough back into the development cycle to ensure we can go on to make those bigger steps through the season. This time last year we were struggling with reliability issues that were preventing us from finishing races. This year we’ve demonstrated that we are on top of that and that is a much better starting point to build upon. We know what we have to do, so whilst that work is taking place behind the scenes, the best job we can do is to keep bringing cars home and focusing on smaller incremental steps. After the cool temperatures in Australia, we now move on to Kuala Lumpur where the fierce heat and humidity are a major challenge for cars and drivers up and down the grid. The Monsoon-type downpours that we see - and which we have stopped races in the past - also represent a good opportunity as they displace the usual order and turn things into a bit more of a lottery - good for us and good for the fans. The Sepang International Circuit has two very long straights, an elevation change and fast corners which make the racing good fun for the drivers. Of course nobody has run the Pirelli tyres in the kind of temperatures we are likely to experience in Sepang. In Melbourne we did not have the degradation levels we had been expecting after the tests in Spain, and it may well be that there will be another surprise in store in Malaysia. Timo is an old hand here but it will be Jerome’s first time at Sepang, and not only will he have the circuit to learn - which he has been doing on the simulator - he will also have his first experience of driving a full Grand Prix distance in the Malaysian heat and humidity.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2010 Qualifying - 20th, 2010 Race - 6th

“Sepang is a circuit I really love. It’s big, fast and wide with some really demanding high-speed corners where you can find a lot of time if you’re really able to get the car working to its full extent. After the pace we showed in Melbourne, I think we can have another good race in Malaysia. Albert Park is a great track, but a circuit like Sepang is where the differences between the cars will start to become clearer. I’m really looking forward to using KERS Hybrid and the DRS too - the rapid change of direction you experience when the car is really in the groove is phenomenal around here, and I think both systems will make the cars look sensational, especially in qualifying. The team have looked into the floor failure we experienced in Melbourne: it seems like the bond between the bib and the chassis was damaged so the damage looked quite bad by the end of the race. It was good to see that the car could withstand that sort of punishment, but, even so, I’m looking to give it an easier ride in Malaysia next week!”

Jenson Button, McLaren
2010 Qualifying - 17th, 2010 Race - 8th

“When I started in Formula One, the Malaysian Grand Prix was one of the newest events on the Grand Prix calendar, but it now feels like an old favourite. I think Sepang’s a circuit that’s definitely improved with age: it’s always been a great track, but it feels like it’s grown into its own skin now, and is all the better for it. This is a track where you need a very efficient car - the corners here are big and will punish any car that lacks downforce. After Melbourne, when I really felt like I had a very solid car beneath me, I’m looking forward to getting out in practice to see how our package can adapt to this circuit. Obviously, one of the main considerations for the drivers is to ensure we’re properly hydrated throughout the race weekend. Until you’ve been to Malaysia, you really can’t appreciate what an oven it is - it’s the toughest race of the year physically, and a place where good base fitness carried over from the winter will stand you in good stead for the race. I won here in 2009 in some of the worst conditions I’ve ever experienced in a racing car - it was like driving through a river at some spots. Whatever the weather throws at us this year, I think we can have another strong weekend.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“Sepang is a demanding, high-speed circuit that is likely to showcase the performance of those cars with the best levels of grip and downforce, and which can best manage the tyres at what will be their hottest and toughest test so far. It goes without saying that Malaysia will be hot. It’s not only a severe test of each car’s cooling solutions, and with track temperatures expected to be between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius higher than anything else we’ve seen this year, tyre management will also be crucial. As with every season, we’re pushing hard to bring developments to the car for every race. We don’t think Melbourne showed us the best of our competitors’ pace, so that only makes us more motivated to bring as much performance to the table as possible. On paper, it looks positive: we were pleased that our Melbourne upgrade worked as expected, and the car’s performance around the high-speed elements of Albert Park suggests it will be able to cope around Sepang. Despite this, the reality is that there was a gap to pole position, and we finished second and not first. Our target is to close that gap and get Lewis and Jenson into a position where they can win.”

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
2010 Qualifying - 9th, 2010 Race - DNF

“I have good memories of the Sepang circuit since it was there I managed to get into the final qualifying session last year for the first time. After our good performance in Melbourne we are, of course, very motivated for the next race. The guaranteed higher temperatures in Malaysia, though, will make a big difference. I especially expect the tyre degradation to be significantly higher there, so this might result in different race strategies. Another challenge could be if we get a wet race, as this happens quite often in Malaysia. But we are now very confident about our performance after what we did in Melbourne. I hope we can continue like that with our pace. The circuit is nice with a couple of high speed corners, and the layout offers more overtaking opportunities than we had in Albert Park.”

Sergio Perez, Sauber
2010 Qualifying - n/a, 2010 Race - n/a

“Of course I’m very motivated and looking forward to what will be my second Formula One race. I think we have a good car. It is quick enough to aim for points and it was reliable. I hope we can keep this consistency and do more good races. Now after I have my debut Grand Prix weekend behind me I know a lot better what to expect in qualifying and the race, and this gives me even more confidence. I know the Sepang circuit from a GP2 Asia race in 2009. It is physically very demanding and also quite technical. Because the circuit is long it is difficult to get a lap right there.”

James Key, Sauber technical director
“It’s going to be an interesting event in Malaysia after the excitement of the first race. The weather conditions could well play a significant role during the weekend. It may be very hot with another step up in track temperature, and this will be new to everyone and the tyres. Or it could be wet, which would be a completely unfamiliar situation. So we have to see what happens and try to get the best out of whatever we face. Sepang is more of a typical F1 circuit compared to Melbourne with sweeping high speed corners and some long straights that will make it interesting for overtaking. There are also some tight corners like one and two, as well as the hairpin at the end of the lap. They are all quite tricky corners. The car will have some updates with some new bodywork at the rear and some new brake duct developments. We are looking forward to a strong result.”

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