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Archive for March, 2013

Vettel apologises to Red Bull staff, row over Marko insists


By Berthold Bouman

Vettel apologises to Red Bull staff, row over Marko insists - Photo: Red Bull RacingSebastian Vettel has apologised in person to Red Bull Racing’s staff members for ignoring team orders during the Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend. The triple World Champion has also spoken with his team colleague Australian Mark Webber, who was visibly upset during the podium ceremony at Sepang International Circuit.

Team Principal Christian Horner said, “He’s apologised to the team and to every single member of staff for his actions, because he recognises the team is vitally important and being part of the team is a crucial aspect to being able to challenge for those championships.”

Vettel celebrates after winning the Malaysian GP - Photo: Red Bull Racing

Vettel celebrates after winning the Malaysian GP – Photo: Red Bull Racing

And he added, “He’s said he can’t turn back the clock but he’s accepted what he did was wrong.” Webber was leading the Malaysian Grand Prix when his team told both drivers to stay in the same position, take it easy and finish the race in the same order, as there were concerns about fuel consumption and tyre wear. Vettel ignored the team order, overtook Webber after a sensational battle for the lead, but Horner told Sky TV Webber should have won the race.

“It was the intent of the team that Mark should win that race,” Horner admitted. About Webber, who after the race hinted he would ‘reconsider’ his position at Red Bull, Horner commented, “He’s big enough to know that there was no malice, no intent from the team to create any situation like that. He’s in a car that’s capable of winning Grands Prix and hopefully going for a championship so I’ve got no doubt that Mark will see out the season with us.”

Today stories emerged that Vettel indeed might have missed the message, a code named ‘Multi-map 21’, which actually means car 2 (Webber)  has to finish ahead of car 1 (Vettel). But Red Bull Team Advisor Helmut Marko rubbished the idea he might have missed it . “We have this certain code — the ’21’ — which was told by the race engineer on two occasions. There was no response,” the Austrian said.

Helmut Marko and Sebastian Vettel - Photo: Red Bull Racing

Helmut Marko and Sebastian Vettel – Photo: Red Bull Racing

He further commented, “We told Sebastian to hold his position because we didn’t know what the tyre situation was and both drivers need to bring home a good finish for the team. But then came the attack against that strategy and it got out of control. You couldn’t control it over radio or anything like that. Sebastian the racer came out and took the lead.”

Also Horner could be heard on the team radio saying, “This is silly Seb, come on,” but there was no answer. And last but not least, saying Vettel accidentally ignored the order to stay behind Webber, cannot be true, as he would never have apologized when he hadn’t been aware of the radio messages. You simply don’t apologise for something you didn’t do.

Marko insists the issue has been settled now, “They don’t have to be completely on the same page but it must be a solid working partnership,” he said. “Sebastian apologised in the press conference and I think that was the first correct step to make. There was a debrief afterwards with the relevant discussions about the race and then there was a handshake between the two drivers. For us now the issue is settled.”


Vettel under heavy fire after stealing Webber’s win in Malaysia


By Berthold Bouman

Vettel under heavy fire after stealing Webber’s win in Malaysia - Photo: Red Bull RacingAfter the Malaysian Grand Prix all hell broke loose, as Sebastian Vettel showed his ruthlessness by ignoring the order to stay behind his team colleague Mark Webber, who was leading the race comfortably. The Red Bull drivers are at war now, but the Austrian team tries to play down the effect of the current stand-off between the two.

But Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner, who usually protects his star driver and triple World Champion, this time refused to defend Vettel’s actions. The battle started after Red Bull became concerned about the tyre wear, and therefore told their drivers to stay put in order to finish the race without ruining the tyres.

Initially Horner thought Vettel hadn’t heard the call, but when it became apparent that Vettel deliberately ignored the order, he made one more attempt to control the situation by saying over the radio, “This is silly Seb, come on,” but the German remained silent. Of course, sitting at the pit wall meant that Horner couldn’t do much about it, and Vettel overtook Webber to take the win.

Team Principal Horner was not happy at all - Photo: Red Bull Racing

Team Principal Horner was not happy at all – Photo: Red Bull Racing

Of course Webber was livid, and he later said, “After the last stop the team told me the race was over and we turned the engines down and go to the end. The team made their decision. Seb made his own decision and he will have protection as usual.” Vettel later apologised, but by the looks of it, he was probably thinking more about how to get out of the mess he had created, instead of offering a sincere apology.

Of course Vettel knew what he was doing, he wanted the extra seven points and he simply took them. Asked whether Webber was surprised Vettel started the fight the Australian said, “Yeah, well I turned my engine down and started cruising on the tyres and the fight was off. Anyway, we know he’s a quick peddler but I was disappointed with the outcome of today’s race.”

Also Horner wasn’t happy and he said, “He [Vettel] had made it quite clear what his intention was by making the move. He knew what the communication was. He had the communication. He chose to ignore it.” And he added, “He put his interest beyond what the team’s position was. He was focused on those seven points difference between second and first place — which was wrong. He has accepted it was wrong.”

But whether Vettel will be punished by his team for his actions at Sepang, remains to be seen, as Horner said, “We spoke to both drivers, and I have spoken to both drivers, and Sebastian has apologised to both Mark and the team, so we have conducted our debrief as we would usually do and we will focus on the next race.”

The current situation at Red Bull - Photo: Red Bull Racing

The current situation at Red Bull – Photo: Red Bull Racing

Meanwhile, the press has condemned Vettel’s actions, after all, nobody believes Vettel won the race ‘by mistake’, and especially the UK and Australian press came down hard on the German.

The UK Daily Express headlined, “Red Bull rumpus: Sebastian Vettel forced to say sorry after giving Mark Webber the elbow,” and compared him with Michael Schumacher, “It was reminiscent of German compatriot Michael Schumacher at his most callous; the seven-times World Champion earned renown for his underhand tactics as much as his brilliant driving.”

The UK Mail reported, “Red Bull in crisis: Webber gives Vettel the finger as World Champion ignores team orders.” About the battle between the two they wrote, “Vettel, however, was in no mood to give any quarter to his team-mate, and when he finally muscled his way past there was no way back for Webber, who responded with a raised middle finger.”

The UK Sun reported, “Mark Webber turned into a raging Red Bull — giving the finger to team-mate Sebastian Vettel as Formula One exploded in anger.” And, “The incident is likely to damage Vettel’s reputation as previous events like this also threatened to overshadow the achievements of his mentor Michael Schumacher.”

The UK Mirror concluded, “Baby Schumi gets his own way: Sebastian Vettel defies team to beat Mark Webber in Malaysia. Sebastian Vettel was dubbed ‘Baby Schumi’ by the German media when he made his debut in Grand Prix racing as a fresh-faced 20-year-old. Well, now we can take away ‘Baby’. He followed utterly in the footsteps of his idol as he betrayed his teammate Mark Webber, his team Red Bull, boss Christian Horner, and billionaire boss Dietrich Mateschitz who has financed his racing career since he was 13. He stabbed his trusting team and his teammate in the back for his own gain.”

The UK Times reported, “The firing squad will have to wait. Sebastian Vettel emerged from the debrief with his Red Bull team after a ferocious and fractious Malaysian Grand Prix without a black eye and with all his limbs intact and no serious threat of further repercussions.”

Webber drinks his champagne, Vettel looks on - Photo: Red Bull Racing

Webber drinks his champagne, Vettel looks on – Photo: Red Bull Racing

And the UK Telegraph reported, “Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber descend into F1 civil war. A furious Webber refused to join the post-race celebrations and had earlier given Vettel an unambiguous finger salute from behind the wheel after being overtaken.”

The UK Independent reported, “The triple champion’s controversial success when he ignored team instructions to overtake his team-mate Mark Webber became a public relations grenade for the team and exposed the German’s ruthless desire to win at all costs. It also tore apart the fragile truce that has existed between Vettel and Webber since 2010.”

In the UK Guardian, Paul Weaver wrote, “We can now count Vettel as one of the most ruthlessly single-minded drivers the cacophonous old circus has ever seen. Being in one club, of course, does not preclude membership of the other. Vettel merely moves in alongside Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher in that respect. Maybe the ruthlessness underlines the greatness.”

The Australian Daily Telegraph published an article with the headline “A history of bad blood at Red Bull between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.”

The Australian Herald Sun wrote, “It’s no secret that Red Bull’s star pair simply can’t cop each other, but just how little respect exists between them was laid bare for all to see in a series of wheel-to-wheel moments over the closing laps at the Sepang circuit. Any lessons learnt from Vettel’s suicidal crash with Webber at the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix that ended Vettel’s race and wrecked the Australian’s chance of victory were clearly out of mind as they again diced for the lead, to the horror of team bosses.”

The incident at Sepang of course re-ignited the discussion about team orders. Well, the truth is simple: you are either in favour, or you are against team orders, if team orders are allowed, drivers should obey them, when team orders are not allowed, drivers should not listen to calls to give the victory to their team colleague.

Many things have been said, but comparing Webber and Vettel with Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna is ridiculous at best. But there’s something one can learn from Senna. When he deliberately crashed his McLaren into the Ferrari of Prost during the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix to win the World Championship, a reporter asked Senna whether these kind of moves were acceptable. And Senna replied, “What is acceptable in motor racing, is with what you can get away with.”

And by the looks of it, Vettel got away with it.


Malaysian GP: Vettel ignores team orders and wins at Sepang, Webber livid


By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP: Vettel ignores team orders and wins at Sepang, Webber livid - Photo: Red Bull RacingAfter a sensational race at Sepang International Circuit for round two of the FIA Formula One World Championship, Sebastian Vettel is leading the Drivers’ Championship — after he ignored team orders. Mark Webber was livid after Vettel passed him, as the Red Bull team had told both drivers to hold position to save the tyres, Vettel decided to ignore the requests from his team and after a bitter, but sensational battle on track, Vettel emerged as the winner of the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Vettel later apologized, but gave no explanation, and said, “I messed up today. I would love to come up with a nice excuse as to why I did it, but I can’t. I can understand Mark’s frustration and the team not being happy with what I did today; I owe an explanation to him and the whole team.”

And he added, “Mark and I are used to fighting each other when we’re close, but with the tyres how they are now, and not knowing how long they will last, it was an extremely big risk to ignore the call to stay second.”

Webber was livid after Vettel denied him victory - Photo: Red Bull Racing

Webber was livid after Vettel denied him victory – Photo: Red Bull Racing

Webber was very disappointed after Vettel overtook him, but he nevertheless remained calm and said, “I think Sebastian has respect for me and I have respect for him, but the situation today was not handled well. It’s hard to put your finger on it all now after the race; when we’re racing on the limit and pushing as hard as we can, then it’s the worst situation for a team.”

Just seconds after the start a sensational race unfolded, all drivers started on the intermediates as it had rained just ahead of the start of the race. It was a great start for Vettel, he remained in the lead, but Fernando Alonso, who was a bit too eager, hit Vettel’s Red Bull and the Spaniard damaged his front wing and at Turn 1 the wing got wedged under the front wheels of the Ferrari and Alonso ended up in the gravel trap, his race was over.

But the wet track very quickly dried out and Vettel was the first to switch to the slicks, he soon started to make progress and others followed and also pitted for slicks. A number of drivers encountered problems during their first stop, Force India driver Adrian Sutil lost a lot of time when there was a problem changing the left rear wheel and the German lost a lot of time.

More pandemonium in the pit lane as Charles Pic in the Caterham hit the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne, who had to be pushed back to his slot for a new front wing. Webber meanwhile, had taken over the lead from Vettel, Hamilton was third, Nico Rosberg fourth and Jenson Button was fifth for McLaren. Hamilton had an embarrassing problem in the pit lane, he stopped at his old McLaren team, his old mechanics waved him off in the right direction.

Button had done the same during the 2011 Chinese Grand Prix, when he stopped at the Red Bull box, and Hamilton said, “I just did a Jenson! He did that a couple of years ago. For so many years I’ve been used to driving in to the McLaren pit stop and I don’t know how I got it wrong but a big apology to my team!”

A race to forget for Force India - Photo: Sahara Force India

A race to forget for Force India – Photo: Sahara Force India

Webber remained in the lead after his second stop, but disaster struck again for Force India when Paul di Resta’s car fell off the jacks and the Scot lost a lot of time before he finally could leave the pit lane. When Sutil pitted, there was again a problem, this time there was a problem changing the left front wheel, poor Sutil lost almost a minute before he left the pit lane and rejoined the race in 20th place.

But the misery wasn’t over for the Indian team, not much later di Resta came in and parked his car in the garage, a few laps later also Sutil returned to the pit lane and his race was also over. It was later established the wheel nuts had caused the problems.

Also Button had a problem in the pit lane, his left front wheel hadn’t been secured properly, he stopped after a few metres and he was pushed back to fix the problem and lost a lot of time as well. It also was a miserable day for McLaren, Button later retired and Sergio Perez finished in ninth place, scoring two points. Strangely enough, Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh later stated his team had made significant progress.

While Vettel chose to ignore his team’s orders, Nico Rosberg decided to stay behind Lewis Hamilton after he had requested to overtake the 2008 World Champion, both drivers were low on fuel and Team Principal Ross Brawn had told them to take it easy to save fuel. Rosberg was obviously disappointed but nevertheless stayed behind Hamilton.

Also team orders for Hamilton and Rosberg - Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Also team orders for Hamilton and Rosberg – Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Meanwhile, Vettel had built up a seven second lead after his fight with Webber, the Australian was perhaps too angry and disappointed and he didn’t even bother to close in on Vettel, and thus he finished in second place, followed by Hamilton and Rosberg.

Felipe Massa had no problems at all and had some fun overtaking both Lotus cars, the Brazilian finished in fifth place, followed by Grosjean and Raikkonen who were sixth and seventh.

During the podium interview Hamilton said his third place, his first podium for Mercedes, actually belonged to Rosberg, he wasn’t happy with the team orders either as he knew Rosberg had been faster.

“If I’m honest I really feel that Nico should be standing here, he generally had better pace than me throughout the race but he’s a great team mate and he did a fantastic job today,” he said, adding, “On our side I was fuel saving for a long, long time so unable to keep the pace of the guys at the front but nonetheless we brought it home, the guys did a great job and I’m proud to be up here for them.”

Massa had problems with his tyres during the early stages of the race and said, “The biggest problem at the beginning of the race was the graining I was having on the tyres. I lost a lot of positions because of that and a lot of time compared to the guys in front, maybe 0.3s per lap. In the dry it was fine and the pace was good so if it was not for this problem at the start of the race maybe I would have had a chance to fight for the podium.”

Raikkonen puzzled by loss of pace - Photo: Lotus F1

Raikkonen puzzled by loss of pace – Photo: Lotus F1

Raikkonen wasn’t really pleased with his seventh place, and he was puzzled by the loss of pace today. He said about the car, “Since Saturday morning it has not been behaving as we expected for some reason, especially in the wet where we really struggled for grip. It was a tough race and I lost part of my front wing at the start which didn’t help, but at least we scored a few points which is better than coming away with nothing.”

And thus it was a race that was won or lost in the pit lane. Today was really the Pirelli show and, as some drivers have already said, the tyres now rule Formula One. Sometimes the show Pirelli puts on is entertaining, sometimes it’s not.

Today spectators saw a great race, but using five sets of tyres during one race is somewhat silly, certainly when the hardest compounds are used like this weekend in Malaysia; it is also a pity two team mates are not allowed to battle for position because they are afraid to ruin the tyres; and on top of that, qualifying also becomes more and more a tyre-saving exercise, which does not contribute to the show.

Next race is the Chinese Grand Prix on April 14 at the Shanghai International Circuit.


Malaysian GP: Vettel takes pole for Red Bull at rainy Sepang circuit


By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP: Vettel takes pole for Red Bull at rainy Sepang circuit - Photo: Red Bull RacingRed Bull driver Sebastian Vettel stormed to his second pole of the season at the Sepang International Circuit, while both Ferrari drivers Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso took second and third place respectively during qualifying, which was again disrupted by rain. But the weather conditions were not as bad as in Australia, and the final qualifying session Q3 continued in the rain.

“It was very difficult as the circuit was half dry and half wet today — so it was difficult to find the right compromise between pushing hard and also saving the tyres,” said Vettel, adding, “It was a good session in Q3 and it was clear what we had to do, so I’m pleased with the result. It’s a long race tomorrow and whoever wins will have done the best job.”

Second pole of the season for Vettel - Photo: Red Bull Racing

Second pole of the season for Vettel – Photo: Red Bull Racing

Clear blue skies this afternoon at the start of qualifying for round two of the FIA Formula One World Championship: the Malaysian Grand Prix. The hard tyres were the first choice at the start of Q1, but soon drivers in the drop-out zone switched to the quicker medium compound Pirellis to try to conquer a place in Q2.

Again the high degradation level of the Pirellis was the reason most top teams stayed in and waited in the garage to make just one run and thus save tyres, which of course does not contribute to the ‘show’. Leading the pack with just eight minutes to go was Force India driver Adrian Sutil, who made a very impressive return to the sport last weekend in Australia.

No one was able to improve on the German’s time, while Jean-Eric Vergne, Valtteri Bottas, Jules Bianchi, Charles Pic, Max Chilton and Giedo van der Garde did not make it into the second qualifying session.

Q2 was not much different, drivers stayed in to save tyres, and it was Sutil again who recorded the fastest time with just ten minutes to go, meanwhile several teams warned their drivers rain was on its way to the Sepang circuit. That was the wake-up call for those who had been waiting in the pits, and soon all drivers came out for a quick run.

Massa again faster than Alonso - Photo: Ferrari

Massa again faster than Alonso – Photo: Ferrari

Paul di Resta was the first to find out the track had become slippery, as he ran very wide in the Force India, but he was able to continue his run. But one lap later the Scot spun at the same place, which also meant improving lap times was impossible as the track became more slippery by the minute.

Soon Nico Rosberg beat his compatriot Sutil and he was fastest in Q2, Romain Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Gutierrez and di Resta did not make it into Q3.

In Q3 the remaining ten drivers came out very quickly to set a timed lap, but the rain intensified and this time Lewis Hamilton was the first to go off, he could continue his run but the weather conditions deteriorated even further and it was difficult to keep the car on track on the slicks.

The Mercedes was quick in the rain, and despite his earlier outing, Hamilton took first place with just three minutes to go. But Vettel was quicker and also both Ferrari drivers Massa and Alonso qualified ahead of Hamilton, meaning the 2008 World Champion will start from fourth place on the grid tomorrow.

Grid penalty for the Iceman - Photo: Lotus F1

Grid penalty for the Iceman – Photo: Lotus F1

Massa again out-qualified his team colleague Alonso and said, “In Q3, we decided to stop towards the end of the session to fit a new set of intermediates and this allowed me to do a lap good enough to take second place on the grid. I am very happy with this team result, which is down to the great job done over the winter months.”

Alonso was pleased with his result and commented, “Maybe the rain helped us a bit as we were not the quickest in the dry, but starting in the top three gives us a realistic chance of a podium finish and we can even dream about winning. Now we must see how tomorrow will turn out, because it’s always a lottery if it rains.”

Kimi Raikkonen had qualified in seventh place for Lotus, but he was penalised for blocking Rosberg in Q3, and was handed a three-place grid penalty and he will start from tenth spot on the grid tomorrow.

Before his penalty the Iceman already said the Lotus wasn’t really quick in the rain, and commented, “We weren’t quick enough on the intermediates so I don’t think we could have found much more time in the wet today. For sure I wanted more but it is what it is and I hope we’ll do better on Sunday.”

Jenson Button, Sergio Perez and Adrian Sutil will therefore move up one place on tomorrow’s start grid.

All Formula One results can be found in the menu of the F1 2013 Season > Malaysian GP, together with links to the practice, qualifying and race reports.

Malaysian GP Results


Malaysian GP: Vettel tops final practice session at Sepang, Hamilton second


By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP: Vettel tops final practice session at Sepang, Hamilton secondTriple World Champion Sebastian Vettel was quickest during the third and final practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang International circuit this morning. The German set a time of 1m36.435s, and was followed by Lewis Hamilton who took second place for Mercedes, while Nico Rosberg was ninth in the second Mercedes.

Adrian Sutil again demonstrated the raw speed of the Force India VJM06, the German was only 0.153s slower than pace-setter Vettel, while Mark Webber in the second Red Bull was fourth.

Kimi Raikkonen was fifth in the Lotus, after completing 19 laps on the Sepang circuit. Romain Grosjean was struggling with his Lotus E21, and didn’t get any further than 14th place this morning.

Sutil again very fast for Force India - Photo: Sahara Force India

Sutil again very fast for Force India – Photo: Sahara Force India

Paul di Resta has problems keeping up with team colleague Sutil, he was sixth fastest, but it seems Sutil feels much more comfortable in the Force India than de Scotsman.

Some improvement for McLaren this morning, Jenson Button was seventh, but almost four-tenths of a second off the pace, while Sergio Perez was 12th, almost a second slower than Vettel. McLaren are still working hard to improve the MP4-28, but due to the changing weather conditions the engineers are struggling to understand the car and its dynamics.

Felipe Massa was the fastest Ferrari driver and took eighth place, beating Fernando Alonso who was tenth this morning. Williams are also still struggling to come to grips with the FW35, a little improvement today as Pastor Maldonado was 11th, while Valtteri Bottas was 15th with a lap of 1m39.736s, almost 1.5s slower than the leading Red Bull.

Nico Hulkenberg - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Nico Hulkenberg – Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Sauber are not as fast as they were at the start of 2012, and Nico Hulkenberg was 13th, and his Mexican team colleague Esteban Gutierrez was 16th.

The Toro Rosso duo Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Riccardo took possession of 17th and 18th places this morning. Charles Pic, Jules Bianchi, Giedo van der Garde and Max Chilton completed the list of 22 drivers this morning.

All Formula One results can be found in the menu of the F1 2013 Season > Malaysian GP, together with links to the practice, qualifying and race reports.

Malaysian GP Results


Malaysian GP: Raikkonen fastest at Sepang after rain-hit second practice session


By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP: Raikkonen fastest at Sepang after rain-hit second practice session - Photo: Lotus F1Kimi Raikkonen was fastest for Lotus after the chequered flag was waved to signal the end of the second practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix this afternoon. The Finn set his time on the medium Pirelli tyre compound, and lapped the Sepang International Circuit in 1m36.569s. His team colleague Romain Grosjean was sixth in the second Lotus.

After Raikkonen had set his fastest lap, the rain came down and this was, of course, an excellent opportunity to test the Pirelli intermediate wet tyres, as rain is also expected during qualifying and the race. Sebastian Vettel was second, but only by the smallest of margins, as the German was just 0.019s slower than Raikkonen.

Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were third and fourth respectively, again proving Ferrari has this time a car that is fast right out of the box. Mark Webber, who was fastest in the morning, had to be satisfied with fifth place after completing 29 laps.

Nico Rosberg was seventh quickest this afternoon - Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Nico Rosberg was seventh quickest this afternoon – Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Nico Rosberg was again the fastest Mercedes driver, while Lewis Hamilton was ninth, just over a second off the pace. Force India driver Paul di Resta took eighth spot, 1.002s slower than pace-setter Raikkonen. Adrian Sutil completed the top ten this afternoon.

Things looked just a little bit brighter for McLaren, as Sergio Perez and Jenson Button were 11th and 12th respectively, both drivers were primarily gathering data for the McLaren engineers, who are working around the clock to get some speed in the MP4-28.

Next on the list are both Sauber drivers, Nico Hulkenberg was 13th, while his Mexican team colleague was half-a-second slower but nevertheless took 14th place. A little improvement compared to this morning for both Toro Rosso drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo, they were 15th and 17th in the STR8.

Jean-Eric Vergne - Photo: Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne – Photo: Toro Rosso

Pastor Maldonado was actually slower than in FP1, and was sixteenth in the Williams, his Finnish team colleague Valtteri Bottas was even a little over three seconds off the pace, and finished in 19th place.

Jules Bianchi was again much faster than Max Chilton, Bianchi was 18th, and Chilton 22nd and last in the second Marussia. Frenchman Charles Pic was 20th for Caterham, while Dutchman Giedo van der Garde was 21st.

The third and final practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix will take place tomorrow morning, while in the afternoon drivers will be battling for pole position.

All Formula One results can be found in the menu of the F1 2013 Season > Malaysian GP, together with links to the practice, qualifying and race reports.

Malaysian GP Results


Malaysian GP: Webber on top after first free practice session at Sepang


By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP: Webber on top after first free practice session at Sepang - Photo Red Bull RacingMark Webber took the honours for Red Bull this morning during the first free practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit. The Australian set a time of 1m36.935s, and was followed by Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus who was just 0.068s slower than the Red Bull driver.

A few reliability concerns for Lotus, as Raikkonen spent almost an hour in the garage while his mechanics replaced the KERS battery. Sebastian Vettel was third in the other Red Bull RB9 and after completing 21 laps on the Malaysian circuit the triple World Champion was just 0.169s off the pace set by his team colleague.

Fernando Alonso was the fastest Ferrari driver, as he landed fourth spot, Brazilian Felipe Massa was seventh this morning, just 0.183s slower than the Spaniard. Nico Rosberg was the fastest of the Mercedes drivers and took fifth place, while Lewis Hamilton complained that his set of hard tyres had been completely destroyed. He finished the morning in ninth place.

Sutil again fastest Force India driver - Photo: Sahara Force India

Sutil again fastest Force India driver – Photo: Sahara Force India

Again an impressive practice run for Adrian Sutil, who once again showed that his team boss Vijay Mallya was right to hire him again, the German was sixth, but 0.834s behind pace setter Webber. Paul di Resta was also quick in the second Force India, he was eighth after completing 15 laps.

Romain Grosjean completed the top ten at Sepang, but again bad news for McLaren as Jenson Button didn’t get further than 11th place in the McLaren MP4-28, Sergio Perez was 13th. McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh had already predicted it would be a tough weekend, and by the looks of it he could be right.

Twelfth place was for Williams driver Pastor Maldonado, but he was 1.738s off the pace, also Williams needs a quick fix for the FW35, as rookie Valtteri Bottas was 16th in the second Williams.

Valtteri Bottas was 16th this morning – Photo: Williams F1

The two Sauber drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez took possession of 14th and 15th place respectively, also Sauber seems to be off the pace compared to the start of the 2012 season.

Further down the order were Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo, they took 17th and 18th place for Toro Rosso. Giedo van der Garde was this time faster than his team colleague Charles Pic, the Dutchman was 19th, albeit 3.793s slower than Webber, while Pic was 21st this morning.

The last two on this morning’s list are both Marussia drivers, Jules Bianchi was 20th and half-a-second faster than Max Chilton, who was 22nd and last.

All Formula One results can be found in the menu of the F1 2013 Season > Malaysian GP, together with links to the practice, qualifying and race reports.

Malaysian GP Results


Malaysian GP: Alonso and Massa hoping to confirm Ferrari is competitive this season


By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP: Alonso and Massa hoping to confirm Ferrari is competitive this season - Photo: FerrariA second place for Fernando Alonso and a fourth place for Felipe Massa during the Australian Grand Prix has put Ferrari in the lead of the 2013 FIA Formula One Constructors’ Championship, a good start of the season, and the Scuderia are hoping to confirm at Sepang that they are a title contender for this year’s Formula One crown.

Stefano Domenicali: Melbourne was first step in a very long season

Ferrari Team Principal Stefano was relieved Ferrari were able to score a podium place at Melbourne, but also warned there is no room for complacency. “It was important to see both our drivers deliver strong performances, as it provides a great basis on which we can build a competitive season and I’m pleased for both of them. But it’s only the first step in a very long season and now is the time to analyse and evaluate all the data from Melbourne,” Domenicali said in a Ferrari statement.

About the next race in Malaysia he said, “We need to wait and see how our car will behave in what is a totally different environment: the track will make different demands on the cars to the ones we experienced in Australia, with a change in track surface and the unique weather conditions, very hot and humid, will also impact on everyone’s performance this weekend.”

“We know what is required here and we will need the usual compromise in terms of downforce levels to deal with both the tighter section and the two long fast straights.”

Fernando Alonso at Sepang - Photo: Ferrari

Fernando Alonso arrived at Sepang – Photo: Ferrari

Fernando Alonso: This weekend is a very real test for us

This weekend Alonso will be driving his 200th Grand Prix, and he certainly seems to feel at home at Sepang, as he won the race last year, in a car that was two seconds off the pace, this year Ferrari is back at the top, and hungry for more. “I think there is no comparison with last year, as at the time we couldn’t even get into Q3 and we were nowhere near where we wanted to be,” said Alonso when he arrived at the Sepang International Circuit.

“In Australia, everything went fine for us and we showed we have a good potential. However, it’s true that the Australian circuit is strange and unusual. That means that this weekend we will be looking for a little bit of confirmation that the car is performing well,” the Spaniard added.

He’s also confident Ferrari can keep up with their rivals this season. “The pace of the Lotus was very good, but it was not something we could not do, it was not out of our reach,” Alonso resolutely said. “Red Bull had a big difference in their pace between qualifying and the race and so for them too, this will be a very important weekend to understand what is happening. But that is not our problem: we will just try to do our best and then see what the others do.”

Asked about the goal for this weekend he replied, “We want a clean weekend and hopefully a podium will again be a very good target for us and if we manage it, we can be very happy.”

Felipe Massa hoping for another great weekend - Photo: Ferrari

Felipe Massa hoping for another great weekend – Photo: Ferrari

Felipe Massa: The car is ten times better

Also Massa is convinced Ferrari has a very competitive car for this season. “The car is ten times better and I feel happy and more comfortable than I did at this time last year, when I struggled to understand the car. This year I can be much more consistent and the car is easier to drive, which is pretty good for the team and also for me,” the Brazilian said.

He too thinks that Malaysia is another test to confirm that Ferrari are competitive this season, “Overall, Australia went well for us and we need to make sure we progress race by race now. The situation could be completely different at this track and we need to wait and see. Maybe we will have a clearer picture of what is really the gap between us and the others in qualifying, either negative or positive.”

Also read:

Red Bull Malaysian GP Preview
Ferrari Malaysian GP Preview
McLaren Malaysian GP Preview
Lotus Malaysian GP Preview
Mercedes Malaysian GP Preview
Sauber Malaysian GP Preview
Force India Malaysian GP Preview
Williams Malaysian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Malaysian GP Preview
Caterham Malaysian GP Preview
Marussia Malaysian GP Preview


Malaysian GP: Boullier – Lotus a real top team now, Sepang will be tougher


By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP: Boullier - Lotus a real top team now, Sepang will be tougher - Photo: Lotus F1To win the first race of the year is always the best way to start the season, and Lotus are confident they can keep up with the best now. In Melbourne they beat Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren, as Kimi Raikkonen took the easiest win in his career.

Eric Boullier: Lotus a real top team now

Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier was proud to have won the Australian Grand Prix, and he reckons Lotus has acquired the status of ‘top team’ now. “I think Lotus F1 Team is truly a top team now. If we can be in the position where we can compete for wins, then that is where we wanted to be. From what we’ve achieved in the first race we can build on that nice momentum to one day become World Champions again,” Boullier proudly said.

Having the fastest car at Melbourne had everything to do with the tyres, Boullier explained, “We worked very hard to make sure that we kept the strengths of last year’s E20, and it’s true that with the 2013 tyres and the fact that they degrade a little more, has put us in a better position. This said, Melbourne is such a special track that we should wait a bit more before knowing our potential better.”

Quizzed about the progress star driver Raikkonen has made, the Lotus team boss jokingly said, “Well he’s smiling more! Kimi is Kimi, he builds himself up — he had a strong season last year, and he ended it even more strongly than he started. He’s starting this season as he finished last year, so he will keep building. I don’t think there is anyone on earth who can tell Kimi what to do, so I’m not going to start!”

First victory of the season for the Iceman - Photo: Lotus F1

First victory of the season for the Iceman – Photo: Lotus F1

Kimi Raikkonen: Melbourne victory is a good sign

Asked whether winning the first race of the season is really that important, Raikkonen said, “A win’s a win, it doesn’t really matter when in the season you get it. Of course I’m happy that we didn’t really have to go full speed all the time so it’s kind of a good sign, a good race for us, but it might be a completely different story in Malaysia.”

Sepang is a special place for the Iceman, as he won his first Grand Prix in Malaysia in 2003, while driving for McLaren. But it doesn’t really mean much to the Iceman, and he commented, “I would not say that circuit is more important for me — it’s not that special for me — but it’s quite a nice place to race at. I like it and the challenge is always at the highest level in the beginning of the year in the heat. It’s also one of those circuits where it usually rains sometime during the weekend.”

Asked whether Lotus can keep the momentum he said, “There was a big question mark last year over whether our team could keep up with the development of the bigger teams and I don’t think we did a bad job. Of course it’s not going to be easy for us. I’m sure we have the people and all the tools to make it happen. Budget is always a factor and it’s no secret that we don’t have the same money as Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes.”

And finally, asked about his chances for this weekend he replied, “Our car worked well in Australia and usually — at least last year — in hot conditions it’s been good for us so hopefully it will turn out to be a good weekend.”

Grosjean confident car problems have been solved - Photo: Lotus F1

Grosjean confident car problems have been solved – Photo: Lotus F1

Romain Grosjean: We’ll work hard to achieve the maximum

Frenchman Romain Grosjean experienced problems during the race in Melbourne, but he has sat down with his engineers to analyse the problem, and he’s confident his problems have been solved. “The car felt so good at times over the weekend, but then at other times it wasn’t where I wanted it to be. It meant that the race felt long and pretty difficult for me,” said the former GP2 champion.

The Lotus E21 looks strong, and Grosjean is adamant that things will turn out better in Malaysia, he’s, therefore, confident of a good performance this weekend, “Clearly Kimi’s car worked very well in Australia and the fact that mine felt good at times over the weekend gives us a clear target for where we want to get the set-up and a guide of what the car is capable of. I want to be scoring 25 points in a Grand Prix for the team!”

Also read:

Red Bull Malaysian GP Preview
Ferrari Malaysian GP Preview
McLaren Malaysian GP Preview
Lotus Malaysian GP Preview
Mercedes Malaysian GP Preview
Sauber Malaysian GP Preview
Force India Malaysian GP Preview
Williams Malaysian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Malaysian GP Preview
Caterham Malaysian GP Preview
Marussia Malaysian GP Preview


Malaysian GP: No updates for Marussia, hoping to maintain momentum


By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP: No updates for Marussia, hoping to maintain momentum - Photo: Marussia F1Marussia have also travelled to Sepang for the second round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Marussia MR02 made a promising debut in Australia, and the Anglo-Russian team is looking to build on the results of Melbourne.

John Booth: No significant changes to the car

Team Principal John Booth was satisfied with the new MR02 and said, “The out-of-the-box reliability and performance of the MR02 has been very pleasing to see, especially as the car is quite a significant evolution of the MR01 and we have had to make the necessary modifications to accommodate KERS for this season.”

He’s hoping to build on the Melbourne success, “Up and down the field, every team will be aiming to make progress and keep developing their package, so we need to maintain our current momentum.”

But there won’t be any car updates said Booth, “Given the tight turnaround between these two races, there won’t be any significant changes to the car. Instead, we’ll be able to look at optimising the set-up for this circuit and gathering more data to send back home in real-time, so our technical team can start working on the next batch of developments for rounds three and four.”

Marussia are hoping to maintain momentum - Photo: Marussia F1

Marussia are hoping to maintain momentum – Photo: Marussia F1

Max Chilton: We are close to the mid-field

Max Chilton made his Grand Prix debut last weekend, and he’s hungry for more action. “It’s time to start thinking about round two in Malaysia this weekend and what we can do to build [on] the momentum. We have shown how close we are to the midfield, so getting within striking distance of that pack is our next target and that is what I’m focusing on,” said the Briton.

And he added, “After such a positive start to the season and an obviously competitive car, I can’t wait for the next opportunity to drive it this weekend.”

Jules Bianchi: Prepared for Sepang on simulator

Also Jules Bianchi made his Grand Prix debut last weekend, and he too is already looking forward to the second race on the calendar. About his debut the Frenchman commented, “Although my debut went well, there are some areas that I need to work on and where I can improve — as you would expect — so this race we will have a little more time and experience to think about what we need to do to keep pushing forward.”

The conditions in Malaysia will be difficult, but Bianchi thinks he’s well-prepared for his next challenge, “This week I have had the chance to think everything through — what I have learned and where I need to go from here. I had a good debrief with my engineering team and I feel very comfortable, so now I start to think about Malaysia. I’ve done some work in the simulator and I think Sepang is a circuit I’m going to enjoy. I know the challenge it brings in terms of the heat and humidity, so I’m prepared for that.”

Also read:

Red Bull Malaysian GP Preview
Ferrari Malaysian GP Preview
McLaren Malaysian GP Preview
Lotus Malaysian GP Preview
Mercedes Malaysian GP Preview
Sauber Malaysian GP Preview
Force India Malaysian GP Preview
Williams Malaysian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Malaysian GP Preview
Caterham Malaysian GP Preview
Marussia Malaysian GP Preview


Malaysian GP: Mercedes aiming for more competitive qualifying results at Sepang


By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP: Mercedes aiming for more competitive qualifying results at Sepang - Photo: Mercedes-BenzThe Australian Grand Prix was certainly not a complete success for Mercedes, as Nico Rosberg had to give up his race with technical problems, while Lewis Hamilton finished in fifth place at Melbourne, the Mercedes team is therefore looking forward to round two of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Ross Brawn: We all hope to put on a good show

Team Principal Ross Brawn thinks there is still much work to be done, he especially wants to be able to get better start positions for his drivers. “Our car performed well and seemed to be competitive in all of the conditions that the Melbourne weather gave us. However, we didn’t quite find the correct balance for the race which compromised our ability to maximise the starting positions of Lewis [Hamilton] and Nico [Rosberg]. With the second race in Malaysia following this weekend, we’re looking forward to the opportunity to put that right.”

Ross Brawn, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton - Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Ross Brawn, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton – Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Lewis Hamilton: Hoping for positive weekend

Hamilton is looking forward to the race at Sepang, a race he has never won before. “Malaysia is a beautiful country with great weather and great fans who are always so supportive, I’m really looking forward to seeing them,” said the 2008 World Champion.

And he added, “Sepang is a fantastic circuit and one where I haven’t managed to win before. My favourite part of the track is probably turns five and six but it’s always an exciting challenge here with the heat and humidity.”

Asked about the progress Mercedes had made since winter testing, he commented, “I’m very proud of the work that the team have done so far and I know that the guys are pushing hard back in the UK to bring more performance to the car. I hope we can have a positive weekend here and build on the progress that we made in Melbourne and on what we learned from that race.”

Nico Rosberg: Conditions will be much hotter, rain would be welcome

“Sepang is one of my favourite tracks on the Formula One calendar. The layout has a little bit of everything with the slow and fast corners making a nice mix,” Rosberg said about the circuit.

He has fond memories of Malaysian circuit, “Sepang holds some great memories for me as I achieved my first podium for Mercedes here at the start of the 2010 season. The conditions this weekend will be much hotter than in Australia so it will be a good test to see how the cars perform in such a different environment and how we can adapt to that.”

The Mercedes is fast in the rain, and he would welcome a few rain showers this weekend, “It often rains heavily and from my experience with the performance of the car in the rain in Melbourne, wet conditions would certainly be welcomed by me!”

Also read:

Red Bull Malaysian GP Preview
Ferrari Malaysian GP Preview
McLaren Malaysian GP Preview
Lotus Malaysian GP Preview
Mercedes Malaysian GP Preview
Sauber Malaysian GP Preview
Force India Malaysian GP Preview
Williams Malaysian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Malaysian GP Preview
Caterham Malaysian GP Preview
Marussia Malaysian GP Preview


Malaysian GP: Red Bull drivers looking forward to rewarding Sepang circuit


By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP: Red Bull drivers looking forward to rewarding Sepang circuit - Photo: Red Bull RacingMixed results for Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber during the Australian Grand Prix last weekend, Vettel finished the race in third place, but rivals Ferrari and Lotus finished ahead of the triple World Champion, while Mark Webber’s race was hampered by ECU problems that cost him at least five places during the start of the race.

Mark Webber: It’s important to acclimatise

The Australian driver finished his home Grand Prix in sixth place, but has put this unfortunate race behind him and is already looking forward to race at Sepang International Circuit.

Asked about the favourite part of the circuit he said, “It’s the second to last corner because it’s very tricky to get right, but I’ve always enjoyed driving it. I’m looking forward to getting back on track again so soon after the first race and really getting the season underway.”

Difficult home GP for Mark Webber last weekend - Photo: Red Bull Racing

Difficult home GP for Mark Webber last weekend – Photo: Red Bull Racing

The Malaysian Grand Prix is one of the most challenging races of the season, due to the hot and humid climate, and Webber gave some tips to keep cool this weekend. “Drink a lot of water, wear light clothes and of course stay in the aircon as much as you can — although that’s not something that helps much when we’re driving! It’s important to acclimatise as much as possible,” he advised.

Sebastian Vettel: It’s a very rewarding circuit

Asked about his favourite part of the circuit, Vettel commented, “It’s an interesting track. After the first section, Turns 5, 6, 7 and 8 are very quick and fun. Turns 11 and 14 are similar, it’s difficult to find the apex of those on every lap, especially as the tyres become worn.”

Vettel had good memories of the Sepang circuit, and has won there before, “It’s a very rewarding circuit for a driver to win, as it’s such a tough challenge with the heat and high-speed corners. It’s rewarding, as it shows you have prepared well over the winter, so I guess my favourite memories are winning in 2010 and 2011.’

Red Bull Video: How well do Seb and Mark know the RB9?

Also read:

Red Bull Malaysian GP Preview
Ferrari Malaysian GP Preview
McLaren Malaysian GP Preview
Lotus Malaysian GP Preview
Mercedes Malaysian GP Preview
Sauber Malaysian GP Preview
Force India Malaysian GP Preview
Williams Malaysian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Malaysian GP Preview
Caterham Malaysian GP Preview
Marussia Malaysian GP Preview


Malaysian GP: Pirelli brings two hardest tyre compounds to Sepang


By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP: Pirelli brings two hardest tyre compounds to Sepang - Photo: Red Bull RacingPirelli will bring the medium (prime, white marked) and hard (option, orange marked) tyre compounds to Sepang for the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix. According to the Italian tyre manufacturer, the hardest compounds are especially suited for the extreme temperatures and the abrasive surface of the Sepang International Circuit.

Paul Hembery: We would describe Sepang as genuinely ‘extreme’

Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery is an expert on race tyres and he said about the Malaysian circuit, “We would describe Sepang as genuinely ‘extreme’: both in terms of weather and track surface. This means that it is one of the most demanding weekends for our tyres that we experience all year.”

About the tyre choice Hembery said, “The nomination we have for Malaysia is the same as last year, but the compounds themselves offer more performance and deliberately increased degradation this season.

Asked about the tyre strategies he commented, “Last year three stops proved to be the winning strategy in a mixed wet and dry race, with a thrilling finish between Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez that was all about tyres. We’d expect three stops again but once more it’s likely to be weather that dominates the action.”

Pirelli brings the medium and hard tyre compounds to Sepang - Photo: Red Bull Racing

Pirelli nominated the medium and hard tyre compounds for Sepang – Photo: Red Bull Racing

Sepang from a tyre point of view:

• Malaysia is one of the more abrasive surfaces that the cars compete on all year, which is part of the reason why the two hardest compounds from the range have been nominated.

• The P Zero Orange hard tyre has a high working range, whereas the P Zero White medium has a low working range. This makes it an ideal combination that can deal well with any eventuality. The durability characteristics of the new hard tyre are close to those of last year’s medium tyre, resulting in lap times that are around 0.4s-0.5s quicker than the 2012-specification hard.

• The Sepang track is built on what was formerly a swamp, with a fundamentally uneven surface. However, the asphalt was resurfaced in 2007, which smoothed out most of the bumps – although some remain.

• Last year, the hard and medium compounds were also chosen for the Malaysian Grand Prix. The top five drivers adopted a three-stop strategy: intermediate-wet-intermediate-slick. Bruno Senna meanwhile, in fifth place, stopped four times.

Pirelli’s technical tyre notes:

• Malaysia places heavy lateral demands on the tyres; it’s the second-highest lateral load of the year after Barcelona. This can lead to heat build-up within the tyre, which can reach a maximum of 130 degrees centigrade.

• Sessions at the Malaysian Grand Prix in the past have been frequently interrupted by heavy rain, and the race was even halted early in 2009, with half-points being awarded. Pirelli has a new specification of Cinturato Green intermediate and Cinturato Blue full wet tyre this year; with a redesigned construction to help improve traction and prevent snap oversteer.

• Although grip levels are high in Malaysia, the frequent rain has the effect of washing any rubber that has been laid down off the track overnight, meaning that there is often a ‘green’ surface at the start of each session. While a dry line can emerge quickly because of the high ambient temperatures, drainage at Sepang is not particularly good, which can lead to pools of standing water.

Malaysia 3D Track Experience – Video by Pirelli


Malaysian GP: Caterham drivers looking forward to challenging home GP


By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP Caterham drivers looking forward to challenging home GP - Photo: Caterham F1 TeamMixed fortunes during the Australian Grand Prix for both Caterham drivers Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde, they finished in 16th and 18th place respectively, but at least they made it to the finish line, whilst others like Williams driver Pastor Maldonado had problems keeping their cars on the right track.

Charles Pic: One of the toughest challenges of the season

Pic expects a lot of support from the Malaysian fans this weekend, “Malaysia will be the first Caterham F1 Team home race for me and I’m looking forward to what will be a very busy week, but one where I think we’ll see a lot of support and a Grand Prix that really pushes the physical preparations we’ve done over the winter.”

And the Frenchman added, “We have quite a few events that we’re doing in the build-up to the race itself and it’ll be great to meet the Malaysian fans, but once we’re in the car it’s back to work in one of the toughest challenges we have all year. The heat and the humidity make driving 56 laps on Sunday pretty difficult.”

Giedo van der Garde with his special Malaysia helmet design - Photo: Caterham F1 Team

Giedo van der Garde with his helmet especially designed for the Malaysian GP – Photo: Caterham F1 Team

Giedo van der Garde: Busy training programme

Dutchman Giedo van der Garde has a busy training schedule to prepare him for the challenges of the Sepang International Circuit, famous for its sudden rain showers and high humidity. He already has arrived in Malaysia and said, “I went straight to Malaysia as it’s important to start adjusting to the heat. I raced in GP2 there last year but Formula One is a big step up in terms of the physical and mental preparations you need to make so my trainer Carlos and I have a busy program planned to make sure I’m ready for every session in the car.”

About the circuit he commented, “On track Sepang gives us an interesting challenge. We haven’t seen track temperatures in pre-season or in Australia close to what we’ll have this week and as the circuit evolves quite a bit over the weekend managing degradation levels from Friday through to Sunday will be critical, but we saw in Australia that our car performed well on the primes so we’ll look to build on that this weekend.”

He’s confident his team will do well during their home Grand Prix, “The cars run pretty high downforce levels at Sepang and that helps throughout the lap, but one of the key areas we’ll work on in the practice sessions will be maximising our pace in the really quick corners.”

“Something the engineers have told me is that since the team came into the sport in 2010 their cars have always performed better in hot temperatures, Tony [Fernandes, team owner] has said before it’s because the team has a Malaysian heart, so let’s see if that continues this year!”

Also read:

Red Bull Malaysian GP Preview
Ferrari Malaysian GP Preview
McLaren Malaysian GP Preview
Lotus Malaysian GP Preview
Mercedes Malaysian GP Preview
Sauber Malaysian GP Preview
Force India Malaysian GP Preview
Williams Malaysian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Malaysian GP Preview
Caterham Malaysian GP Preview
Marussia Malaysian GP Preview


Malaysian GP: Williams aim to score points with both cars


By Berthold Bouman

Malaysian GP: Williams aim to score points with both cars - Photo: Williams F1A miserable start of the season for Williams, Pastor Maldonado retired from the Australian Grand Prix after 24 laps, while rookie Valtteri Bottas eased the pain just a little bit by finishing his first Formula One race in 14th position. After a disastrous qualifying, Maldonado said the FW35 was ‘undriveable’, and the Venezuelan even feared a repeat of the 2011 campaign.

Technical Director Mike Coughlan: Working hard to solve the problems

“Following a difficult opening to the season in Australia, the team has regrouped and been working hard to solve the problems we encountered last weekend,” said Williams Technical Director Mike Coughlan. “We have a good idea where to focus our efforts and learnt a lot in Melbourne which we will implement in Malaysia to continue working to improve the performance of the FW35 throughout Friday testing and into the weekend,” the Briton added.

Asked about the goals for the Malaysian Grand Prix Coughlan said, “Our aim is to move forward from where we were last weekend, with a view to end the race with both cars in points-scoring positions.”

Valtteri Bottas - Photo: WiIliams F1

Valtteri Bottas – Photo: WiIliams F1

Pastor Maldonado: The weather conditions can change in an instant

Maldonado has put the Australian Grand Prix behind him, and is ready to tackle the next challenge, the Malaysian Grand Prix. “I had a disappointing Australian Grand Prix and the car isn’t quite where we hoped it would be, but we will be working hard to unlock the potential that we saw in testing.”

But it won’t be a walk in the park he warned, “Malaysia is one of my favourite circuits and it’s also one of the most challenging, testing your skill and concentration towards the end of the race as the heat takes its toll on you physically.”

About the Malaysian weather he remarked, “The weather conditions can change in an instant and in the last couple of years the weather has gone from 40 degree heat to thunderstorms and heavy rain, with extreme changes in track temperature as well.”

Valtteri Bottas: Looking to improve on performance

Bottas also thinks the weather and humidity will be the biggest challenge this weekend. But he also hopes to improve on his performance, although 14th place in Melbourne wasn’t too bad for a rookie.

“I learnt a lot from my first Grand Prix in Australia and whilst we weren’t as competitive as we had hoped, the fact that I brought the car home safely in my first race is a positive I can take away and we will now be looking to improve on our performance for this race,” said the Finn.

He also expect problems with the new Pirelli tyres, “Last year was very difficult because we had hot humid track temperatures combined with a series of rain showers. The fast corners in the second sector of the track are the most challenging because it’s really hot for the tyres and in these high temperatures you need to be careful not to degrade them too quickly.”

Also read:

Red Bull Malaysian GP Preview
Ferrari Malaysian GP Preview
McLaren Malaysian GP Preview
Lotus Malaysian GP Preview
Mercedes Malaysian GP Preview
Sauber Malaysian GP Preview
Force India Malaysian GP Preview
Williams Malaysian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Malaysian GP Preview
Caterham Malaysian GP Preview
Marussia Malaysian GP Preview