E one time boredom and one time fireworks - that is the balance of the previous Formula 1 season. However, nobody can say exactly what Formula 1 fans can expect from Malaysia in the breakfast program. One thing is clear: the changeable tropical weather will probably have a decisive say again. As is well known, a few drops of water are enough for a good racing thriller.
Last year, however, it was a few drops too many. A falling monsoon caused a lot of chaos on the route. To the disappointment of the fans, the rain flooded the track to such an extent that the race management had to stop the Grand Prix prematurely. In order to avoid the showers that occur every day at this time of year, the organizers decided to move the start of the 2010 race from 5 p.m. to 4 p.m. (10 a.m. CET).
The 5.543 kilometer long Sepang International Circuit actually offers enough action even without rain. The course, designed by the German track designer Hermann Tilke, has many fast and varied corners and two long straights with good overtaking opportunities at the ends. Aerodynamic efficiency plays a decisive role here. Red Bull clearly has the best cards in this discipline at the moment. In a sauna climate with an air temperature of 30 ° C, stability is also required. As is well known, things didn’t look so good for Sebastian Vettel recently.
Malaysia offers some challenging positions for the driver. The penultimate corner is very important and tricky at the same time: In the increasingly narrower right bend, you have to take a lot of speed with you onto the back straight and step on the gas as early as possible. At the end of the first straight the hairpin is waiting. A good brake balance is of the essence here.
When it comes to tuning, Sepang always presents the engineers with major challenges. The long straights require a high top speed and flat wings. In the slow meandering from start to finish and the fast corners, the pilots can use every bit of grip. Since you can gain more time in the corners than on the straights, most teams set their wings relatively steeply.
The brakes are also extremely challenged again, which on the one hand is due to the great heat and on the other handis due to the demanding route layout. The drivers are squeezed into tight second-gear corners four times per lap from more than 280 km /h. The relatively low grip level doesn't make things any easier.
Malaysia is tailor-made for the two Red Bull cars in terms of the characteristics of the track . In the preseason no other team could keep up in the fast corners. This advantage was still clearly visible in Bahrain and Australia. However, the Red Bulls are now also competitive in the slow corners. Only at top speed do you lag a little behind. So overtaking will be difficult for Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. But if the bulls can drive away after the start, nobody will catch up with them.
The competition will then have to hope for technical problems again. In the first two races, Vettel failed on the way to victory due to the reliability of his company car. Behind Red Bull there will be an exciting fight between Ferrari and McLaren for second place develop. The Reds from Maranello were recently faster in qualifying, McLaren was strong in the race. With the rear wing trick, which should bring at least five km /h more top speed on the long straights, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button could have a decisive joker to overtake.
For the fourth top team Mercedes GP , however, Malaysia is not an ideal tearrain . At the home game of main sponsor Petronas, the Silver Arrows should try the god of rain if you want to get your first podium of the season. As in Australia, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg will probably have to defend themselves against attacks from midfield. In terms of the layout of the route in Malaysia, Force India is rated somewhat more strongly than Renault and Williams.
Expert assessment: Robert Kubica (Renault)
'On track in Malaysia it's relatively easy to get into a good rhythm because the wide slopes give you enough confidence to push yourself to the limit.The fast corners haven't been a big challenge lately either, but I think with the large amount of fuel It could be a bit more demanding. Last year you could easily take Turn 5 at full throttle. This year it will be a bit of a challenge. '
' Due to the climate in Malaysia, the weekend will be physically very strenuous for the entire team When I came to Malaysia for the first time, I could hardly believe how high the humidity is and you walk straight out of the airportin a sauna. You can really feel the hot air in the boxes because the heat from the car penetrates your body. There is also the risk of rain. With the start in the afternoon it is quite possible that we will experience another wet race. '
This is how the race went last year:
As already mentioned, was able to the race could not be driven the full distance in 2009. After only 32 of 56 laps, it was only the rain that prevented the drive from continuing in the dark. Jenson Button won the rain lottery at that time and secured his second win of the season in the second race Podiums spoke German: Thanks to a brilliant tire poker, Nick Heidfeld was in second place on the lap before the break, which is decisive for the result. Timo Glock, who also drove a perfect tire strategy, was third.