A1 Team Malaysia, one of over 20 nations set to compete in the 2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, is in the thick of preparation work for the new season following the recent delivery of its new car. The "Ferrari-powered" racer is a brand new...
A1 Team Malaysia, one of over 20 nations set to compete in the 2008/09 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, is in the thick of preparation work for the new season following the recent delivery of its new car. The "Ferrari-powered" racer is a brand new car so the team is starting the build process with the freshly painted chassis and all the new parts as well as the Ferrari V8 power plant.
Following delivery of the chassis at the A1GP production facility in Bognor Regis, England, the A1 Team Malaysia mechanics based themselves at the facility for the initial build process. After a few days of preparation the mechanics transferred the operation to the A1GP Technical Centre in Silverstone to continue their work.
The layout of the internals of the car is inevitably different and the team is gaining knowledge of its workings and the "packaging" of the parts as they assemble it. The Malaysian crew, as they build each part of the car for the first time are gaining valuable knowledge of the detailed technical requirements of its operation.
Michael Webb, Chief Mechanic, says of the build, "It is a learning experience with any new car the first time that you build it from the ground upwards. All single-seater racing cars are basically similar in their construction, but with different packaging, so it is this area which takes the time to understand and master.
"Everyone in the crew has plenty of race car build experience so it's not too difficult. It just needs us to focus on certain aspects and ensure that we know exactly how to dismantle and replace parts as quickly as possible. When you are in the middle of a race weekend and need to rebuild the car after an accident, for example, you need to be able to complete the task in as little time as possible ensuring that it's done correctly. Taking the time now to have this knowledge will be invaluable when we start going racing."
The A1 Team Malaysia race car will take a few more weeks to build completely, with the major components of the gearbox and engine also needing to be fitted. With many new supplier systems and installations, there is training required for the mechanics and this will also take place in the coming weeks. Once the car is complete, an initial firing up will check all the systems, and when that has been completed, it will be given a test 'shakedown' with limited running to check that everything on the car runs smoothly.
The team is working towards the Donington test days, aiming for the car to be ready for a shakedown, and longer runs, at this event.