News and Analysis
Narain Karthikeyan: "After the first race in Australia, I went directly to Malaysia to prepare physically for the tough weather conditions. I have trained a lot outdoors, about four hours a day, especially doing some cardio work. I have also been around the track and the first things I have noticed are that it is not very clean and it is very wide. However, I think it will suit my style of driving. I am a little bit worried about the very hot conditions here in Malaysia, as it is very humid. Physically, it will be very challenging but I will push hard for it, as I did in Australia and hopefully finish the race again."
Jarno Trulli: "I was buoyed by our front row starting position in Australia because it wasn't all down to the weather conditions in qualifying. The TF105 was well suited to Albert Park and I was pleased with the car's behaviour over the weekend. Therefore, I am confident for the Malaysian Grand Prix. Sepang is an interesting track technically and one of the most demanding of the season for drivers because of the intense heat and humidity. With the new technical regulations for engines and tyres, we could see some surprises and upsets this weekend. I hope we fall into the former category. We missed out on points in Melbourne, but I looking to rectify that in Sepang."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Sepang, a medium to high downforce circuit, is fairly technical in nature. You need for good traction on the exit of the slow corners, such as 14 and 15 towards the end of the lap, as it is important to carry speed onto the two long straights that follow to get a good lap time. Also, the car must be stable under braking and work well through the direction changes at high speed, such as those in sector two. Despite its overall flowing nature, the track is physically very demanding on both the drivers and the cars, for example we have a higher flow into the radiators to try and keep everything cool. The track is very wide, up to 15 metres in places, and has various camber changes. The extra width allows more than one racing line, which makes overtaking possible with turn 15 being probably the best chance."
David Coulthard: "They say you're only as good as your last race, so although the Melbourne result was a great morale booster, we now have to start all over again in a race that will be a much tougher proposition. Since Australia, I've been training hard in hot weather for what is one of the most physically demanding races of the season, while discovering it's hard to get a tan through a beard! I've finished second and third at Sepang in the past. That will be hard to match, but I will be trying my best to bring home some more points."
Jenson Button: "The Australian Grand Prix was disappointing, but it was great to finally get back to racing. After our success last season, the result in Australia clearly wasn't the way we wanted to start the season. We have a lot of work to do to get back up to where we need to be. There are some issues we need to address before Malaysia, but I am confident that we will have these solved and I am looking forward to the next race at Sepang."
Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport: "We have had a good start to our 2005 campaign considering that the weather affected the race in Australia, and now move on to one of the hottest races of the year in Malaysia. Evaluating our performance in the first race, our technical personnel have obviously done a good job over the winter period and I expect we will be able to demonstrate our full potential in Sepang. We have confidence in our tyres' performance and durability and hope to give the people of Malaysia a good show. Kuala Lumpur is an important hub in Asia and we are looking forward to seeing people from all over the region when they come to watch the race."
Mark Webber: "I have both good and bad memories of Malaysia. Obviously, qualifying on the front row last year was great, but then I had a very poor start. The race is a tremendous challenge for the drivers and the teams because of the high temperatures, and the impact this has on car cooling, braking and tyre performance. Despite all of this, I think Sepang is a very, very good circuit. The weather can be quite unpredictable though, it's always one thing or the other, and when it rains, it really rains. I think we'll get a true reflection of people's pace at Sepang because the results from qualifying one in Melbourne were affected by heavy rain. If we get a consistent weekend in Malaysia, we will get an idea of where everyone stands. Because of all these variables, I'm looking forward to the Malaysian Grand Prix."
Willy Rampf (Technical Director): "Sepang requires the maximum downforce we can muster under the new regulations. However, because of the high ambient temperatures, adequate cooling is also essential to ensure reliability. This will be particularly critical because under the new rules this will be the second race weekend for the Petronas engines that we ran in Australia. The track characteristic is a good mix of slow-speed corners where traction is crucial, and high-speed sweeps that require high stability. So the challenge for the engineers is to find the right compromise. The surface has a medium grip level and is quite abrasive, and together with the high track temperatures that adds up to the toughest test of the tyres as we may only use one set for qualifying and the race. A careful choice from the two Michelin specifications will therefore be of particular importance on Friday."