After its race debut two weeks ago in the opening round of the FIA Formula One World Championship in Melbourne, Australia, the newly-rebranded Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One Team will be back in action for the second event of the year in Sepang, Malaysia, from 6 - 8 April.
The team's performance throughout the Australian race weekend was on a par with expectations, with Adrian Sutil showing well in Qualifying and Christijan Albers keeping pace with the pack in the first part of the race. However, with the major aero upgrade planned for introduction in Malaysia, this time out the team could be up there racing for position.
Both F8-VII cars will feature revised bodywork, sidepod inlets, bargeboards and a modified diffuser to increase aerodynamic efficiency. This major upgrade is a direct result of the team's new partnership with Aerolab, which allows the team access to a second wind tunnel and 30 additional staff.
As the Etihad Aldar Spyker team did not participate in the extended Sepang test from 27 - 30 March, it will now use the two 90-minute Friday practice sessions to test the new parts in representative race conditions. Both race drivers, Christijan Albers and Adrian Sutil, will be installed in the car on Friday to acclimatise to the new mods and the challenging Malaysian climate conditions.
Colin Kolles, team principal and managing director:
"After Australia I said we should be positive about the team's race performance over that weekend, and now I think we have even more reason to be upbeat. Adrian has one race distance under his belt, Christijan is very motivated and we have a significant upgrade that will allow both drivers the opportunity to race for position."
Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer:
"We were where we expected to be in Australia in Qualifying time difference, but on race pace we were pretty close to the group in front. For Malaysia the goal is now to transfer the aero upgrade onto the car and move forward. The simulations we have conducted in the wind tunnel suggest the modifications will give a significant increase in performance and hopefully we will be able to move further up the field."
"I'm looking forward to the second race now as we all know the first did not go so well! I really want to get a good result, especially with the team working so hard to push the update through. Sepang is a very interesting track and I'm looking forward to getting there and getting back on track."
"I've never raced at Sepang before, but I am familiar with the layout and am looking forward to getting back in the car. I learnt a lot in Australia and now I want to put that into practice in Malaysia. The aim is to be fast, not to pick up any penalties - which I know won't happen again - and do a good race."