Malaysian GP: BMW Sauber preview

Munich/Hinwil. The BMW Sauber F1 Team heads for a home event this coming weekend, exactly 9,778 kilometres distant from Munich and 10,012 kilometres from the Swiss headquarters at Hinwil: the Malaysian Grand Prix is held under the sponsorship...

Munich/Hinwil. The BMW Sauber F1 Team heads for a home event this coming weekend, exactly 9,778 kilometres distant from Munich and 10,012 kilometres from the Swiss headquarters at Hinwil: the Malaysian Grand Prix is held under the sponsorship of the team's premium partner, Petronas.

Nick Heidfeld:

"For years now the Malaysian Grand Prix has been rather a special race for me. Petronas, of course, was already a partner of Sauber when I was driving for them from 2001 to 2003, and we used to do promotional tours around the country. As a Formula One driver you usually don't get to see much beyond airports, hotels and race tracks as there simply isn't the time to get to know a country and its people. But in Malaysia I've already managed to get around quite a bit and I feel very much at home there. It always takes a while to get acclimatised to the combination of heat and high humidity, but that's never been a problem for me. The circuit is an attractive and challenging one. Last year I had a great race in Sepang and finished fourth. I managed to get past Felipe Massa and kept the Ferrari in check behind me."

Robert Kubica:

"I'm looking forward to the race in Malaysia because Sepang is a very challenging track which I'm fond of. Of course the climatic conditions are at the extreme end, which makes it even more of a challenge. But fortunately we already had very high temperatures in Melbourne, so we've had a bit of a chance to adjust. Last year our car was very competitive, but for me pretty much everything went wrong. So I still have a score to settle in Sepang. The Malaysian Grand Prix is a very special race for us on account of our partner Petronas. We have a lot of fans rooting for us there."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:

"No sooner have we ticked off the season opener in Australia than Malaysia is already beckoning. This Grand Prix is a kind of home race for us. Since 2006 we have experienced the sheer charisma that our premium partner Petronas has in Malaysia. The euphoric welcome extended to our team in this country is a fantastic experience every time, and the various events held at the foot of the Petronas Twin Towers have always exerted a magnetic pull. As part of its Asia strategy, the BMW Group has ramped up its involvement in Malaysia over recent years. The race in the Greater Kuala Lumpur area is an important grand prix for both BMW and Petronas.

"Following the unexpectedly hot battle in Melbourne, we now head for the steam bath of Sepang. Not only are temperatures above 30 Celsius, but humidity levels are also extremely high due to the proximity to the equator. Consequently, we are looking ahead to this test of endurance with bated breath."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director:

"The race in Australia has given us a first pointer as to where the individual teams stand, but no more than that. That's because the Albert Park circuit with its distinctive characteristics is not very representative. And so I believe we won't get a reliable picture of the true balance of power until after the Malaysian Grand Prix. Due to its many differing corners, Sepang makes huge demands on the set-up of the cars. The slow sections require plenty of traction, while high stability levels are crucial particularly for the many fast corners. Good aerodynamic efficiency is another essential. In Sepang, moreover, the rear tyres come in for a great deal of punishment, which will be exacerbated further by the absence of traction control."

History and background:

The Sepang International Circuit is just under an hour's drive south of the vibrant downtown area of Kuala Lumpur. This year the race track celebrates its 10th anniversary along with the 10th appearance of Formula One here.

The name Kuala Lumpur translates as "muddy estuary" after its location at the mouth of the rivers Gombak and Klang. KL, as the city is popularly known today, is the heartbeat of modern Malaysia. With a population of around 1.5 million, more than half of them Chinese, the capital is also the country's largest city. Extending over an area of 244 square kilometres, KL offers a thriving Asian culture alongside British colonial buildings and landmark high-tech edifices such as the 88-storey PETRONAS Twin Towers that rise to a height of 452 metres.

Kuala Lumpur was founded in the middle of the jungle by tin miners in 1857. In 1896, under British rule, the Malay Sultanates formed the Federation of Malaya with Kuala Lumpur as its capital. In 1957 Kuala Lumpur became the capital of the newly independent country.

The PETRONAS (Petroliam Nasional Berhad) company, which is the premium partner of the BMW Sauber F1 Team, was founded on 17th August 1974. PETRONAS, with its head office in Kuala Lumpur's Twin Towers, is a multinational gas and petroleum group operating in more than 30 countries. The group is engaged at a local and global level. Its activities include upstream exploration and production as well as downstream oil refining, marketing and distribution of petroleum products, trading, gas processing and liquefaction, gas pipeline network operations, marketing of liquefied natural gas, manufacturing and marketing of petrochemical products, maritime logistics and property investment.

-credit: bmw sauber

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Nick Heidfeld , Felipe Massa , Robert Kubica , Mario Theissen
Teams Ferrari , Sauber