After his season opener victory in Melbourne, Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella is expecting to fight at the front of the field again in Malaysia. The Italian led from pole to flag at Albert Park and the next round is in the heat of Sepang. It's one...
After his season opener victory in Melbourne, Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella is expecting to fight at the front of the field again in Malaysia. The Italian led from pole to flag at Albert Park and the next round is in the heat of Sepang. It's one of the tougher circuits for drivers and cars alike, but Fisichella is confident that his fitness is ready for the challenge.
"The race in Malaysia is always very tough physically, and I said before Melbourne that it is very easy to make mistakes at the end of the race when the tyres are old," he said. "With the fatigue from the heat as well, that is even more true for Sepang, but I have been really motivated in training this winter and I am not worried about the physical side."
The importance of tyres this season is even more in the spotlight with the same set of rubber having to last both qualifying and the entire race. There were no tyre problems in Melbourne but Malaysia's heat makes it hard to predict how performance will be affected.
"At the moment, nobody knows how the tyre performance will unfold in temperatures like we have in Sepang, and it will be interesting to find out," Fisichella commented. "All we know is that Michelin have done a great job this winter and in the first race."
"The tyres in Melbourne were very consistent, and the performance was there. In Malaysia, they will have to be durable under much tougher circumstances, but the R25 seems to manage the tyres well. I am confident we will have good performance there."
As well as tyres, the two-race engine rule will also put reliability of the power plant under pressure. "(Tyre) management under extreme conditions will be critical," remarked Renault's engine chief Pat Symonds. "Equally, we will see the reality of whether the teams have really built two-race engines."
Rain during qualifying in Melbourne saw an unusual grid line up and many are expecting the status quo to be restored in Malaysia, barring any more unexpected events. Fisichella predicts the competition will be closer this coming weekend.
"The team is very optimistic, and I think we will expect to fight at the front again," he said. "But if bad weather does not play a part, I am sure the race will be a lot closer than in Australia."