Malaysian GP Benetton preview

The Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport team heads to Kuala Lumpur ahead of this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix and the second round of the 2001 FIA Formula One World Championship. Mike Gascoyne - Technical Director: "Melbourne was difficult for...

The Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport team heads to Kuala Lumpur ahead of this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix and the second round of the 2001 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Mike Gascoyne - Technical Director:
"Melbourne was difficult for the team but no more than we expected. Both Renault Sport UK and France are pushing hard on development for Malaysia and Brazil so that we can start the process of moving up the grid.

"We have a new bodywork package in development that we hope will be ready for Malaysia, if not, it will be tested on chassis 4 in Barcelona and will be used in Brazil.

"This week we have been testing at Silverstone with Mark Webber, doing both tyre testing and work on the electronic systems for the new regulations in Barcelona. For Malaysia, we have incorporated some specific modifications to cope with what we expect to be very high temperatures. Our focus is on race reliability and our aim is to get two cars to the finish and in a competitive state."

Pat Symonds - Director of Engineering:
"Perhaps one of the most surprising results of the first grand prix in Melbourne was that the excepted tyre war between Michelin and Bridgestone decreased lap times by an amount far greater than anticipated - pole position being 3.5 seconds faster than last year. However it is likely that this improvement will not be so extreme in Malaysia as in 2000 the race was at the end of the season when significant development progress had already been made on tyres and also the Sepang circuit is suited to a softer tyre than Melbourne.

"Lap times will also be more affected by the reduction in aerodynamic downforce from the 2001 regulation changes. The result is that the absolute performance of the car is unlikely to take such a large step forward as we have seen in Australia last week.

"In the past, Malaysia has seen two-stop strategies employed by many teams and this may well be the case again this year. Key factors that can affect performance in Malaysia are the extreme heat and humidity which cause high stresses to both the engine and the drivers."

- Benetton F1

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mark Webber , Mike Gascoyne
Teams Benetton