Monday, 23 March 2015

Sauber F1 Team Malaysian Grand Prix Preview

(Sauber F1 Team)

The Sauber F1 Team head into this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang circuit following their best start to a Formula One season in years.

Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson will be hoping to repeat their fantastic performance from last weekend in Australia where they score the Swiss based outfit’s first double points finish in a long time. Nasr finished the race in fifth place on his Formula One race debut while Marcus Ericsson finished the race in 8th place.

Scuderia Ferrari young driver Raffaele Marciello will drive the Sauber C34 during Friday’s opening Practice session. Marciello will use the number 36 during the session.

Nasr did a fantastic job on his debut for the Swiss based outfit having joined the team from the Williams Martini Racing Team over the winter. Speaking ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix the Brazilian stated:

I am really looking forward to the Malaysian Grand Prix. It will be easier for me to approach this race weekend, as I know the track quite well from previous racing series, which was not the case in Melbourne. Looking back to our winter tests, I am confident that the layout of the track in Malaysia can suit our car. After a successful season opener in Melbourne, I think the Malaysian Grand Prix can be one of the races we can look forward to. The track consists of some long straights and fasts corners, so I would expect a bigger tyre degradation. On the other hand, it is positive that our car seems to have a decent straight line speed, but I think some more downforce could help us to gain time in the high-speed corners. Overall, I am looking forward to my second race of the 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Marcus Ericsson joined the team after terminating his contract with the Caterham F1 Team at the end of last season. The Swedish driver secured his first ever Formula One points as he finished the race in eighth place. Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix Ericsson stated:

After the great result in Melbourne, it feels good going to Malaysia. I know the track quite well from GP2 and also from last year in Formula One. For me it is quite an interesting circuit with many medium and high-speed corners, which are quite demanding for the tyres. The Malaysian Grand Prix is one of the toughest on the calendar, because of the high humidity and heat. It means you need to be in good physical shape, and I am sure I am. I have been training very hard over the winter, and before the race in Sepang I have spent one week at a training camp in Thailand getting acclimatised to the humidity. I am sure I will be one hundred percent ready when I get to Malaysia. Another aspect which comes into play is that we often have the risk of heavy rain there, so the races are usually quite exciting. I hope we can build on the progress we have made in Melbourne, and have another good race weekend.

Marciello commented on ahead of his first Friday outing for the Sauber F1 Team by saying:

It will be exciting to drive the Sauber C34-Ferrari for the first time. That will also be the same for the Italians, as we have not had an Italian driver in Formula One for quite a few years. I will definitely enjoy the experience, and I am really looking forward to it. I am confident I can do a good job as well as supporting the team in order to find a set-up for the car which suits the track. I have never been to Malaysia before, but I know the track quite well from the Ferrari simulator in Maranello, and I am sure I can get to learn it fast once I drive there. As the circuit has some fast corners, I think the car’s downforce will be crucial. Another important aspect will be the weather, as the humidity, along with the temperatures, is quite high. From a driver’s perspective it will be a challenge, but this is the same for everyone. Together with my trainer, I am getting well prepared for this weekend.

The Sauber F1 Team showed during winter testing that their new car is extremely competitive and this was proven with their points haul in Australia last weekend. Speaking ahead of this weekend’s race, Sauber’s head of track engineering Giampaolo Dall’Ara stated:

The Sauber C34-Ferrari has proven itself to be a competitive and reliable car in Melbourne, and now the team is looking forward to further confirmation in remarkably different conditions such as the race weekend we will encounter in Malaysia. Firstly, the circuit at Sepang is biased towards medium to high-speed corners, and it is a very technical one, offering more racing lines due to its width. Secondly, the climatic conditions are usually extreme, thus the event is demanding for drivers and cars. Thirdly, Pirelli’s compound allocation covers the stiffest side of the scale, with hard as prime and medium as option. And lastly, there is no way to accurately predict the rain, which is not uncommon in the afternoon at this time of the year.’
© Ben Johnston 2015 

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