Both Sauber C34-Ferraris ran without any major issues.
The Malaysian Grand Prix on the Sepang International Circuit started in extreme conditions with very high track temperatures of up to 61 degrees Celsius. Both Sauber C34-Ferraris ran without any major issues. However, there is still a lot of work to do to adapt to these hot conditions.
For the first time the Sauber F1 Team test and reserve driver Raffaele Marciello participated in an FP1 session at a Formula One Grand Prix. He quickly got used to the Sauber C34-Ferrari and the track, which were both new to him. He finished the session in P13.
Marcus Ericsson (#9 - FP1: 10th, 1:42.064 min,16 laps / FP2: 9th, 1:41.261 min, 30 laps): “In the morning we had a good start to the weekend. We had promising runs with consistent lap times, and we also did some set-up work which was satisfying. During the second free practice we continued to build on what we have learned in the morning, so it was another decent session. We were a bit unlucky when I went on track with the medium tyres, because during my preparation lap the red flag came out. I had to box, so I lost the peak grip of this set of tyres. Nevertheless, I think the performance was good and the long-runs were quite positive. I also feel comfortable in the car. The high temperatures will be a challenge for everyone on Sunday, which is going to be difficult with regard to tyre management.”
Felipe Nasr (#12 - FP2: 12th / 1:41.988 min, 30 laps): “After missing out on the first free practice, I had to catch up quickly in the afternoon. As I know the track well, that was not an issue. It was not an ideal practice session as we were struggling with the rear tyres due to the very high temperatures. This will give us plenty of work overnight. We need to understand how to handle this issue and put everything together for tomorrow.”
Raffaele Marciello (#36 - FP1: 13th / 1:42.621 min,13 laps): “It was a good session for the team. For me it was a bit challenging, as I was driving the Sauber C34-Ferrari for the first time ever on a track I have not driven on before. However, I felt confident in the car quite quickly and was able to improve from run to run. I completed the planned programme, so I think I did a good job. The temperatures were already high, so the grip level on track was low. Besides that, the circuit was a bit dirty, so the conditions were not the best, but this war the same was for everyone. Overall, it was good for me driving the Sauber C34-Ferrari in the first free practice.”
Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering: “It’s not easy to read anything into this day. First of all with these extreme temperatures it was difficult for the engineers and drivers to keep the tyres alive, despite being the hardest compounds. This has an influence on the balance of the car. We have to analyse the data very carefully in order to understand everything. It will be important to have a good weather forecast. We expect the temperatures not to be as high as they were today. We will have a lot of work to do overnight in order to make the right changes. For the first time Raffaele was in the car in FP1. He had to get familiar with the Sauber C34 and to find performance at the same time, which is not easy, but he did a good job.”
Sauber F1 Team