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2005 Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix
Teams and driver race previews

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Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix Seasons
'05  '04  '03  '02  '01  '00  '99

Team and Driver race preview

Renault - Ferrari - Red Bull - Williams - McLaren
Toyota - Sauber - BAR - Jordan - Minardi

(selected team quotes, for a full team and driver preview click on the team name)

Renault ( Fernando Alonso, Giancarlo Fisichella )

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering

We were extremely pleased with Australia. Melbourne was only the fourth circuit at which we have properly run the car but at each one, we have found the set-up sweet spot almost immediately. So we are confident, but as I have said, tyre management and temperatures are now a more fundamental part of Grand Prix racing than ever before, so the picture may change. I think we are close to a number of teams on performance, and it will take very little for the pendulum to swing one way or the other.

Full Team and Driver Preview  Back to Top

Ferrari ( Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello )

Mattia Binotto, Trackside Engine Manager: 
"Between one race and the next there is virtually nothing one can do to the engine. The only work permitted is that already allowed under normal parc ferme conditions: various ancillaries can be changed such as spark plugs and coils and the engine oil.
"But in the case of Ferrari, these components normally last the full life of the engine and so there will be no need to change them and no changes are planned, apart from the Shell oil. Given that the engine remains closed up for a long period of time, it is important to change it and ensure no old oil is left in the block."

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Red Bull ( David Coulthard, Christian Klein )

Christian Horner, Sporting Director:
“Melbourne was a fantastic debut race for Red Bull Racing. While our result in first qualifying was fortuitous due to the weather, it’s fair to say that our performance throughout the free practice sessions was very strong and that was backed up by David and Christian’s pace in the race. Both drivers’ confidence is now high and we will be looking to build on that this weekend, while remaining realistic about our prospects. However, Malaysia throws up a whole new challenge. The circuit is technically difficult and added to the usual demands on the package is the fact that our engines will be tackling their second consecutive race, giving us a first opportunity to assess the impact of the new technical regulations.”

Full Team and Driver Preview  Back to Top

Williams BMW ( Mark Webber, Nick Heidfeld )

Sam Michael (Technical Director, WilliamsF1):
Malaysia will have ambient temperatures perhaps reaching as high as 40°C, as well as the normal daily tropical thunderstorms that are so common here. In fact, at 2400mm, the average annual rainfall in Malaysia is higher than any other circuit that we race at. Such high temperatures have an influence on tyre degradation and the cooling exits that we will have to fit to the FW27 to ensure the engine does not overheat.

Sepang is a challenging, high downforce circuit for the drivers with plenty of direction changes through medium to high speed corners. There are also three slow speed corners to deal with and four straight sections which reward engine power. Overtaking is also possible in a couple of places around the track.

We have some development parts for the FW27 to improve its performance following Melbourne. Our tyre partner, Michelin, will bring two tested tyre choices to Malaysia, if they work as well as they did in Melbourne, there will not be any problems with them. Pitstop strategy will also be interesting if both qualifying sessions are dry. Heading into Malaysia, we are looking to build on our position in the Constructors' Championship with a solid result.

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McLaren ( Kimi Raikkonen, Juan Pablo Montoya )

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, Team McLaren Mercedes
"In Malaysia the intense heat has an overriding influence on the event, with track and ambient temperatures reaching up to 50 and over 35 degrees centigrade respectively during last years race. Ways in which we adapt for this include incorporating additional and larger air cooling intakes and exhaust vents, whilst ensuring these modifications do not significantly affect overall aerodynamic efficiency. We were pleased with the performance of our Michelins in Melbourne, and Sepang now provides a new challenge for the tyres and one we feel we have prepared well for in winter testing. We tend to use a softer compound to provide the required traction and grip on the smooth, low grip surface.
At Sepang we also need to take into consideration tyre wear, which is traditionally fairly high, as a result of the high surface temperatures, hard acceleration and heavy braking points. Malaysia is of course as famed for unpredictable monsoons as the heat, so we are hoping there is no repeat of the wet weather conditions, which affected the outcome of our weekend at the Australian race. We need to improve on our performance and are looking to have a positive, solid race where we can hopefully reflect the pace we believe there is in MP4-20. I think everyone has had a lot to say about the new regulations, there were fairly extraordinary circumstances in Australia and I think we need to run a couple more races to get a full understanding of how they will operate. "

Full Team and Driver Preview  Back to Top

Toyota ( Jarno Trulli, Ralf Schumacher )

Luca Marmorini - Technical Director Engine: "Malaysia will be the first race where we will see the effects of the new engine rules. Reliability was impressive in Australia, but combined with the heat of Sepang, this second race will be extremely demanding for engines. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding loopholes in the new engine rules, but exploitation of such grey areas is against our understanding of racing. Even though our drivers did not score any points in the last race, we decided to pass the chequered flag out of respect for the new rules. We fully accept the spirit and intention of the 2005 engine regulation and we believe that if we are to challenge for points regularly, we must finish the race and that means having an engine to last two races. With Ralf completing 570km and Jarno 670km in Melbourne, this obviously increases the chance of having an engine failure in Malaysia, but this is how we must act if we are to fight for points."

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Sauber ( Jacques Villeneuve, Felipe Massa )

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."

Full Team and Driver Preview  Back to Top

BAR Honda ( Jenson Button, Takuma Sato )

Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director
"At Melbourne our poor starting position, partly due to the unusual circumstances in qualifying combined with the new regulations, which make overtaking on the track or in the pit stops much harder, certainly hurt our race. But our outright speed was clearly not good enough.
We have had a useful test at Jerez this week where we have been able to investigate some of our performance concerns and we are more confident in our performance for Sepang. We believe that with higher track temperatures we will be more competitive and we will be looking to take advantage of our new engines for the race."

Full Team and Driver Preview  Back to Top

Jordan ( Tiago Monteiro, Narain Karthikeyan )

Paul Monaghan, Chief Race Engineer
“Sepang International Circuit is a very demanding one: the hot track temperature creates unique conditions for the drivers, tyres and engine. A good car balance is required for the track's flowing nature, which then eases the braking requirements. At present, we are facing challenges with two new drivers, tyres and engine regulations, but we are building on the lessons learnt at the Australian Grand Prix and seeking to get the most from everything here this weekend.”

Full Team and Driver Preview  Back to Top

Minardi ( Christijan Albers, Patrick Freisacher )

Not yet available

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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.”

Full Bridgestone Preview  Back to Top


Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director 
“Sepang is an interesting circuit from a technical point of view, because it has a mixture of quick, slow and medium corners, but the biggest challenge for a tyre manufacturer is the fierce heat. Even in a tropical rainstorm, the track temperature can reach more than 40 degrees.
“Although we did most of our pre-race groundwork in Europe, the lessons we learned during the first grand prix of the season in Australia have helped us to fine-tune our compound selections for this weekend.
“The season began well for us in Melbourne. Not only did we score a comfortable victory, with Giancarlo Fisichella and Renault, but the variable weather gave us an opportunity to showcase the effectiveness of our wet- and dry-weather tyres. There is every chance that we will need to demonstrate similar versatility in Sepang.”

Full Michelin Preview  Back to Top

Race Preview

Main Malaysian Grand Prix Page


Session - Local time



1st Friday Practice - 11:00ResultsReportResults
2nd Friday Practice - 14:00ResultsReportResults
1st Saturday Practice - 9:00Results Results
2nd Saturday Practice - 10:15ResultsReportResults
Saturday Qualifying - 13:00ResultsReportResults
Sunday Qualifying - 11:00ResultsReportResults
Race - 15:00ResultsReportResults

What the teams and drivers said
Preview - Friday - Saturday - Sunday

FIA Press Conferences
Thursday - Friday - Q1 - Q2 - Race

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