The BMW WilliamsF1 Team enjoyed a profitable start to the 2003 Formula One season, but in spite of a podium finish in Melbourne, the team is taking nothing for granted after a unpredictable Australian GP that was affected by the weather and the...
The BMW WilliamsF1 Team enjoyed a profitable start to the 2003 Formula One season, but in spite of a podium finish in Melbourne, the team is taking nothing for granted after a unpredictable Australian GP that was affected by the weather and the new rule changes.
As the team moves on to Malaysia for the second leg of the early Asian season, all attention will turn to the expected extreme weather conditions. While the team scored a one-two victory at the Sepang circuit near Kuala Lumpur in 2002, last year's ambient temperatures of 330C and track temperatures of 390C, together with the ever-present threat of flooding tropical rain mean that the race can be something of a lottery.
Juan Pablo Montoya:
"It is pretty difficult to say how we will perform in Malaysia. We might be really good or we might be tenth! The Barcelona circuit is the only fast track we tested on over the winter and we haven't been very quick there. On the other hand we have historically always been really quick in Malaysia. Sepang is a very smooth track and last year we had our first and only one-two finish there."
"I think the hot weather should suit our package and especially our tyres and with the improvements Michelin have made, I am not concerned about the rain. I had some time off this week in Australia with my wife and some friends, and I will be flying out to Malaysia on Monday, in time to fulfil some marketing commitments for a sponsor."
"Reflecting on the Australian Grand Prix Result, I am quite content with our start to the year. We showed that the car has potential but I have no doubt that we have a lot of work to do. We also have to see where Ferrari and McLaren are with their new cars."
"I'm really looking forward to Malaysia. I love the country, I love the track and even the extreme weather conditions don't matter to me. I'm well prepared and I think that this track will work perfectly with our tyres and our car. And of course I have good memories of last year's race, and I hope I can repeat the experience."
Patrick Head (WilliamsF1 Technical Director):
"We are returning to the venue of our last victory and 1-2 finish, which was a strong performance from Ralf and a colourful second position coming from Juan after a first lap accident with Michael. That performance was strongly supported by an advantage from a Michelin tyre, which we hope will be repeated this year. Meanwhile, we are encouraged by the last race performance of the FW25 and we have made further tests yet we appreciate that we still have a lot of hard work ahead of us."
"The Malaysian facility is a superb circuit. It is the most modern and best grand prix that we visit. It demonstrates a remarkable commitment and foresight from the Malaysian government to give its support and we always enjoy visiting Sepang."
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):
"The season's opener was a nice surprise for us. Now the car has proven competitiveness, even though one has to consider that there were special circumstances. In Malaysia the weather conditions will play an important role. It will be hot, very humid and one can experience heavy tropical rain which can arrive quickly and completely change the race order. I think in Australia we looked better than we actually were, and it would be a success for us if we could maintain a front running position in Malaysia."