The BMW WilliamsF1 Team comes to Sepang adamant to achieve a good result in the second race of this 2001 season, after the disappointments in Australia. Most of the teams have stayed out during the gap between the Australian and the Malaysian...
The BMW WilliamsF1 Team comes to Sepang adamant to achieve a good result in the second race of this 2001 season, after the disappointments in Australia. Most of the teams have stayed out during the gap between the Australian and the Malaysian Grands Prix and this is true for most of the personnel of the Grove-based team, who spent one week on the glamorous island of Langkawi. BMW personnel spent a couple of days in Sydney. Lying to the south of the capital Kuala Lumpur, the purpose-built Sepang circuit offers a variety of twists and turns which make the second Grand Prix of the calendar a very interesting and unpredictable race.
"The Malaysian circuit is one of the most modern of the Formula One calendar not only due to the nature of track itself but also to its great facilities such as the garages and the paddock, which are a true model for all other race tracks. With regard to safety, this circuit represents the highest standards. The gravel traps, for example, are of the latest generation. Nevertheless the Malaysian Grand Prix is one of the hardest races because of the hot temperatures and the huge humidity and I also find it quite difficult to find the ideal line on this track. Anyway I am glad to be in Malaysia. I flew here straight from Australia to recover from the trauma of the events of Melbourne."
Juan Pablo Montoya
"The Malaysian Grand Prix is going to be quite an interesting race especially because with the expected very hot weather the tyres should work quite well. The FW23 can be competitive in both, wet or dry conditions so I am not bothered about which weather we are going to have in Malaysia. Our car has great potential - even if we are at the start of the season and we need to do some more work on all areas of the car but as the season goes on we believe that it should be much faster. I have never raced on the Sepang circuit and it looks a quite difficult circuit to learn but I think we should be all right. I have spent the last week watching on-board camera recordings of last year's race, I've studied the telemetry data and have also driven many laps on video games ! I feel ready for it."
Patrick Head (Technical Director WilliamsF1)
"We were very disappointed not to achieve a finish with at least one car in Melbourne, and both drivers had the opportunity to finish in the points. The Sepang circuit is a wonderful facility and a great track with quite a variety of corners. On both of our previous visits we have struggled a bit, but we intend to get to grips with the track's requirements this time. Much will depend upon the Michelin tyres and their suitability for this track. They performed well at Melbourne as did the new BMW engine, which gives us every reason to have an optimistic view of our season ahead. Both drivers drove well in Melbourne, although I am sure that Juan Pablo will be wanting to improve upon his starting position."
Dr. Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director)
"We have found out quickly the reason for the failure of Juan Pablo's engine in Melbourne. The reason for it was a faulty pipe connector between oil tank and engine, which from a certain point on simply didn't supply the V10 with enough oil. Despite this, it is fair to say that in Melbourne our engines were strong and that during the whole weekend we didn't experience the smallest technical problem on our side. As neither of our cars could finish the race and therefore we could not prove the reliability of the V10 over a Grand Prix, durability remains the main priority. For this reason we have some further improvements ready for Sepang. On such a track with two long straights the engine performance plays an important role and we think that we are quite well equipped for that. Another point, is the heat that we have to expect in Malaysia. In Kyalami we had at least the opportunity to test under similar temperature conditions."
* The 56-lap Malaysian Grand Prix gets underway at 15:00 local time (07:00 GMT) on Sunday 18th March. A total race distance of 310.408 km (192.920 miles) will be covered at Sepang Circuit (5.543km - 3.445 miles) where Mika Häkkinen holds the lap record of 1m38.543s (McLaren-Mercedes - 2000). The 2000 race winner was world champion Michael Schumacher.