Malaysian GP: BMW Sauber preview

The BMW Sauber F1 Team travels to the home of its premium partner PETRONAS for the second round of the 2009 World Championship. The Twin Towers, the company's head office, are a major landmark of Kuala Lumpur. The GP at the Sepang circuit normally...

The BMW Sauber F1 Team travels to the home of its premium partner PETRONAS for the second round of the 2009 World Championship. The Twin Towers, the company's head office, are a major landmark of Kuala Lumpur. The GP at the Sepang circuit normally takes place in extreme heat, making it one of the toughest races of the season.

Robert Kubica:

"The Malaysian Grand Prix is always something very special, as it is like a home race for us because of PETRONAS. We have a lot of fans in Malaysia and it is really a special feeling to drive there. The race went extremely well for me last year. Of course I hope that we can get a strong result again this time around.

I'm really looking forward to this GP, as this is a unique track with a wide variety of corners; some are seriously quick, but others are very slow. And in some places you can choose different lines, which makes it particularly interesting. The final sector is very different from the other two, as it has just two long straights and a hard braking area. This track really offers everything, and that means it demands a lot of the car. The later start time means there is a pretty strong chance of rain. I'm sure that we are in for an extremely interesting weekend."

Nick Heidfeld:

"For me Sepang is a nice, challenging circuit. Last year I managed to pull off some good overtaking moves there. The heat is always an issue, coupled with a high level of humidity. However, I've never had a problem with it and am particularly fit this year. We've often experienced cloudbursts in Malaysia in the late afternoon and early evening. This year's schedule increases the chances that we will still be on the track at this time. Hopefully it will still be light enough.

I always feel very much at ease in Malaysia. All the activities we've been involved in with PETRONAS have given me the chance to see a bit of the country and I've also been here on holiday. There is not a lot of time before the grand prix this year, but we have engagements with PETRONAS on Tuesday and Wednesday - and of course there will be a visit to the PETRONAS Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The towers fascinate me every time I see them, especially at night when they're illuminated."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:

"After the opening race of the season in Melbourne, we are now very much looking forward to our first home Grand Prix of 2009. Every year since our team was founded in 2006 we have seen for ourselves the charismatic presence of our premium partner PETRONAS in Malaysia. It is always amazing to experience the fantastic reception we enjoy as a team in Malaysia.

Last year Nick recorded our first ever fastest race lap as a team in Sepang and Robert finished in an outstanding second place. Our aim is to pick up from where we left off with these good performances.

The BMW Group has stepped up its involvement in Malaysia in recent years as part of its Asia strategy. The first of a total of seven races in Asia this year is an important one for BMW and PETRONAS, and will be keenly fought, that's for certain!"

Willy Rampf, Head of Engineering:

"We always look forward to this race in particular, as it's the home Grand Prix for our partner PETRONAS. The Sepang circuit is very challenging and places big demands on the chassis and the teams' choice of set-up. There are fast ess-bends in which stability is critical. At the same time, you need good traction under acceleration out of the tight corners, some of which are uphill. The right-hander before the back straight, which closes up at the exit, is especially tricky.

Because the tyres are placed under heavy loads in the fast corners, in particular, in Sepang, we use the soft and the hard compound here. So we're driving a level harder on them than in Melbourne. Cooling is also an issue, given the high ambient temperatures. And, of course, the weather is very unpredictable. You always have to be prepared for rain here."

History and background:

Formula One will visit the Sepang International Circuit for the 11th time in 2009. The circuit is located just under an hour's drive south of the vibrant downtown area of Kuala Lumpur.

The name Kuala Lumpur translates as "muddy estuary" after its location at the mouth of the rivers Gombak and Klang. KL, as the city is popularly known today, is the heartbeat of modern Malaysia. With a population of around 1.5 million, more than half of them Chinese, the capital is also the country's largest city. Extending over an area of 244 square kilometres, KL offers a thriving Asian culture alongside British colonial buildings and landmark high-tech edifices such as the 88-storey PETRONAS Twin Towers that rise to a height of 452 metres.

Kuala Lumpur was founded in the middle of the jungle by tin miners in 1857. In 1896, under British rule, the Malay Sultanates formed the Federation of Malaya with Kuala Lumpur as its capital. In 1957 Kuala Lumpur became the capital of the newly independent country.

-credit: bmw sauber

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Nick Heidfeld , Robert Kubica , Mario Theissen
Teams Sauber