Sepang will be one of the toughest races of the year.
Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations: Sepang is one of the circuits whose technical requirements will change under the new regulations. In the V8 era the circuit sat towards the middle of the table for the challenge it posed for engines but now it will be one of the toughest races of the year.
Of the six main components of the PU, the internal combustion engine will be under the most pressure in Malaysia. The humidity in Sepang made it a little bit easier on normally aspirated engines since power comes down as the water content in the air increases. This means we were generally able to offset the impact of the two long straights. This year we won’t have this luxury. With a turbo engine the air intake is controlled at all times regardless of ambient conditions so those long straights will really start to hurt. As a result Sepang will become a lot less forgiving as twice a lap the PUs will be flat out, with the turbo revving at close to 100,000rpm for over 10secs.
The weather conditions will still play a role in engine management strategies. The high air temperatures could be a concern as we have to choose the correct cooling level, while the high chance of rain could make the cars difficult to control due to the increased torque and lack of grip. The focus will therefore be on good driveability and controlling the charged air temperature.
After a difficult race in Australia we are really looking forward to Malaysia. We had several issues across the cars in Melbourne but we have recreated the problems in the dyno at Viry. Most are fixed and the remaining will be under control by Friday in Sepang. While we anticipate further issues may occur we are much more able to react quickly to minimize their impact.
Renault Sport F1