Round two of the 2004 Formula One World Championship takes place at the Sepang circuit near Kuala Lumpur. The West McLaren Mercedes team travels to Malaysia following an intensive test at the Valencia circuit in Spain with test driver Pedro de la...
Round two of the 2004 Formula One World Championship takes place at the Sepang circuit near Kuala Lumpur. The West McLaren Mercedes team travels to Malaysia following an intensive test at the Valencia circuit in Spain with test driver Pedro de la Rosa. Drivers David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen and the race team remained in the region following the Australian Grand Prix to prepare for the Malaysian race.
"The Australian Grand Prix was not an ideal start to the season for myself, Kimi and the West McLaren Mercedes team. Everyone has been working hard on the test track and our facilities in Woking, Brixworth and Stuttgart and hopefully we will be able to improve in Sepang. A key influence in Malaysia is the extreme atmospheric conditions, the humid heat is very energy sapping for the drivers and teams, which we take measures to manage."
"To acclimatise to this, myself and Kimi have spent the time between Australia and here in Thailand. The temperature of course affects the cars as well as us, for example we run with an increased flow into the radiators to ensure the cooling systems are operating at their optimum level. The 3.443 mile/5.542 km circuit includes a good variety of challenges from the very fast, long straights, the quick corner complex towards the end of the track and the slower tighter turns at the start. This sees us use a medium to high downforce configuration."
"The Malaysian Grand Prix is of course an event that has good memories for me, as I took my debut Formula One victory at last year's race. Although I would like to repeat that result, the main focus for this weekend is to work on improving our performance from Australia and hopefully to score some points to kick-start our 2004 season."
"The Sepang circuit was purpose built for Formula One and therefore provides a number of real overtaking opportunities, and as a result the race is usually fairly eventful and interesting to watch. Malaysia of course has the massive grandstand that sits between the two main straights with, I believe, room for some 30,000 fans. These spectators will have a great view of the opening and final corner complexes on either side, both of which often see some exciting action."
Martin Whitmarsh, Managing director, McLaren Racing:
"Our overall performance at the Australian Grand Prix was not at the level we are aiming for this season. However the Formula One World Championship is about 18 events, not just one and the West McLaren Mercedes team is fully focused on taking the significant performance step that is required to achieve the desired outcome."
"We had various development programmes taking place between Australia and Malaysia, including the four day test at Valencia, Spain with Pedro at the wheel of the MP4-19. We worked on a number of programmes, completing more than 1,000kms and have received some useful feedback, which we will incorporate and consequently hope to improve our competitiveness for Malaysia."
Norbert Haug, Vice president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
"Following our result at the start of the season everybody in the team is working hard to improve our technical package. We all want to see an upwards trend in Malaysia. The conditions at the Sepang Circuit will be very much different from those experienced in Melbourne two weeks ago, as the Malaysian Grand Prix takes place in very hot and humid weather conditions. This time of the year there is traditionally a big chance of rain which could affect both strategy and outcome of the race."