Malaysian GP Benetton preview

Pat Symonds: "With the cars and teams staying out in the Far East between Japan and Malaysia, no actual circuit testing is taking place in preparation for the final Grand Prix of the season. However, in the background a lot of preparation work is...

Pat Symonds:
"With the cars and teams staying out in the Far East between Japan and Malaysia, no actual circuit testing is taking place in preparation for the final Grand Prix of the season. However, in the background a lot of preparation work is done with the engineers spending many hours simulating the circuit and looking at different set-ups. There are no new components for this final race as the cars have now reached the definitive specification to finish the year off. This does not detract, however, from the competitiveness that is experienced by everyone as they fight for Championship positions in this final race."

The Race:
"The circuit at Malaysia is relatively easy on tyres and generally requires a soft tyre which can lead to a few opportunities of using different strategies to try and aid the result. The circuit is very wide and there are some good overtaking opportunities, which always leads to good racing. The weather for the final Grand Prix can be very changeable as this part of the world is generally very hot which can have some cooling problems on the car, but of course, this year the race is a couple of weeks later than last year and hence a little further into the rainy season which may turn the race on its head. Whatever happens, this is the final chance for the drivers and teams to capture the positions they have been fighting for all season so one can expect good hard racing."

Giancarlo Fisichella describes a lap of Sepang:
"Having passed the pits, I start the lap on the long pit straight reaching around 300km/h in 6th gear before braking hard for the right-hand first turn, which is taken in 2nd gear at around 75km/h. This right-hand corner leads immediately into the left-hand corner with 2nd gear being held all the way through, but with the speed dropping down to just under 70km/h. On leaving this corner I accelerate for a right-hand bend and on to a short straight where I will reach around 290km/h in top gear before braking hard for the third corner which is a right-hand 2nd gear corner taken at around 100km/h. From here, I will go through the difficult S bend taken in 4th gear with the first part taken at around 225km/h and I will just partially lift the throttle and use a little braking to stabilise the car to get through here. Then while holding 4th gear, just dabbing the brakes I enter turn 5 at around 215km/h. On the approach to the next corner I will reach 5th gear just over 270km/h before entering the double apex 4th gear corner which is taken at 177km/h. Again, a short 5th gear straight where I will reach 275km/h then leads into the very tight turn 8 which is in 1st gear at 65km/h. I then accelerate out of this corner, briefly touching 4th gear before dropping down into 3rd for turn 9. I take this at 148km/h before accelerating through turn 10 which is taken in 5th gear at around 240km/h like turn 4, with just partial throttle being used to stabilise the car with the aide of the brakes. Turn 11 is a long right-hand corner taken in 2nd gear at around 115km/h and is extremely important as it leads on to the back straight where I will reach over 300km/h in top gear before braking for the final corner which is taken in 2nd gear at 82km/h. This is one of the overtaking points and hence the exit from turn 11 with good stability on braking into turn 12 is extremely important."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella
Teams Benetton