The dust has hardly settled and the last of the champagne is being washed from the overalls of the victors and we’re off to Malaysia for the Sepang GP.
This place is the first of the Tilk “Bernies barren wastelands circuits for the cash” this year so an easy one to catch up with on the BBC. It’s fast, wide and there isn’t too much of a challenge for the drivers. The circuit is extremely wide; in places they can go four abreast into a corner. But this being Formula one there is only one line and no one deviates from that unless they have too, or unless Massa is spinning back from hitting the wall perhaps.
McLaren are talking up this weekend and why shouldn’t they? Historically the Woking boys have always gone well here as it’s nice and fast with long sweeping high speed corners that suit the McLaren design ethos. They looked comfortable at the front of the field in Australia a circuit that shouldn’t have suited so i don’t see a reason why they shouldn’t be out front again.
With only three days from the drop of the flag in Australia to the start of practice in Malaysia the teams don’t have enough time to analyse the race data from the weekend and turn it into faster bits for the cars, so the pace of the cars isn’t going to be much different.
Ferrari is bringing a new chassis for Massa, just to prove his other one wasn’t the weak link in the weekend. Will this make much difference? .. I doubt it. The Italian papers are full of stores that Perez is going to be in the Ferrari before the season reaches Barcelona and soft hands Sutil will be back in the Sauber. Proving once again that being too slow is a far worse crime than glassing someone in the face!
HRT will be searching for better luck this weekend, with both cars way outside the 107% qualifying time they didn’t even get a couple of hours testing time on the Sunday. I doubt that’s going to change much this weekend. If they make it to the race they have to be firm favourites for last place driver, if they can complete enough race distance of course. Marussia are looking like being the last placed car of choice at the moment, with Glock my personal choice.
Other news of note is that Kovelinum was given a five place grid penalty, for over taking the safety car before it had crossed the safety car line at the entrance to the pit lane during the Oz GP. So if you were thinking of having a Caterham on pole position in Malaysia, think again.
Right then, update your predictions before midnight on Thursday please. Any changes after than will be for china in four weeks time.