It started cool, but things got hotter during the first day of practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix. Our on-track preparations for the second Grand Prix of the season got underway today at the Sepang International Circuit. At 28°C and with a track temperature of 33°C, the morning started off cooler than is typical in Malaysia, even though it was still hot and humid.
In the first practice session, both Timo and Jérôme were amongst the first out on track to complete installation laps. The team made some setup changes before returning Timo to the track. He posted a further 18 laps before the end of the session, which he ended in 19th position. Jérôme was having a trouble-free session until two minutes before the end, when he ended up in the gravel due to a suspected suspension failure. He had completed 20 laps and finished 20th.
As the day continued, the temperatures began to climb, with the track temperature peaking at 49°C and humidity at 51%. The team had made some changes to Timo’s car during the break and this work continued into the early part of the session, but he joined the action after 25 minutes and went on to complete a further 24 laps and end the day in 19th position. Jérôme was confined to the garage for the duration of the afternoon session. The team worked flat out to repair his damaged car but in the end the scale of the task was too great.
“It’s difficult to gauge everything that was going on up and down the pitlane today, but I think we had a reasonable day. It's a shame we couldn't get Jérôme's car out in the second session, because it would have been good for tyre evaluation. In general I'm happy with how the car is working here, but it's all about the tyres; they are fine for one lap but then drop off and it's all about keeping them alive over a distance. The team did a good job. We were a little late going out in FP2 but overall everything went well. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.”
To drive a Formula One car on this track is great
“The day started well and we were able to get out on track quickly. Unfortunately we had a problem with the front right suspension at the end of the morning session, and the resulting damage meant that I couldn’t take part in the afternoon session. It’s very hot but I’m coping well with the heat, and to drive a Formula One car on this track is great. I really enjoy driving here. We hope for a better day tomorrow.”
John Booth,Team Principal*
“We’ve had a challenging start to our weekend’s running in Sepang today. This morning we experienced what we suspect was a suspension failure to the front right of Jérôme’s car, which was obviously disappointing. The combination of the wheel flailing on its tether and the car ending up in the gravel trap meant that the damage was quite considerable. As the problem occurred just a few minutes before the end of Free Practice 1, we faced a major battle to rebuild the car and get out on track in Free Practice 2 for at least an installation run at the end of the session.
Despite a monumental effort by Jérôme’s crew we missed out by just a few minutes, so it’s been a challenging day on that side of the garage. Thankfully things went better on Timo’s side and he seems reasonably happy with the car, which has at least provided us with some opportunity to gauge where we are. We have a lot of work to do tonight to ensure we are in a better position for tomorrow.”
Source: Marussia Virgin