PROST ACER MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW Sepang, March, 13th 2001 After the first race of the 2001 Formula One season on March 4th in Melbourne, the Prost Acer race team spent a few days in Indonesia before heading to the Sepang circuit where the...
MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW
Sepang, March, 13th 2001
After the first race of the 2001 Formula One season on March 4th in Melbourne, the Prost Acer race team spent a few days in Indonesia before heading to the Sepang circuit where the Malaysian Grand Prix will take place on Sunday March 18th. The greatest difficulty that both drivers and cars will have to tackle is the heat, which they have already experienced in October 99 and 2000. But this year, they will also have to consider the threat of rainstorms, as Malaysia reaches the end of the rainy season.
The Prost Acer team is happy to be back in Sepang, an impressive venue both for the quality of its infrastructure and environment, and for its ultra-modern track. The 5.5 kms circuit is made of 15 corners, mainly of medium speed. At some, the cars can reach 200km/h but others are very demanding on the brakes and require slowing down to about 80km/h, for example the last hairpin chicane just before the long straight to the finish line. Completion of the 56 laps of the Malaysian race with this combination of low speeds and long accelerations is highly demanding for drivers and cars, particularly on the engine front.
The Prost Acer team decided not to test after the Australian race, working at the St Quentin en Yvelines factory on new parts for the Malaysian Grand Prix and the races to come. Also the problem that put an end prematurely to Gaston Mazzacane's race has been identified and solved.
Henri Durand, Prost Grand Prix Technical Director, explains :
" We arrive at Sepang with a certain number of changes aimed at adapting the car to circuits requiring a high level of downforce. At the moment, we are working for the short and mid term on an extensive aerodynamic development package that will be put in place for the following races. This is really important for us and I made the choice to stay at the factory to oversee this programme. "
Jean Alesi commented :
" There has been a huge contrast between our poor 2000 season and the very promising tests we completed last winter. This difference has increased both my ambitions and responsabilities starting on the first race of the season in Melbourne : I had to deliver on the track all the hard work done by the team. This first race was difficult because even if we proved to be reliable, we did not entirely exploit the competitive potential of our car, as I ended the race in 9th position. Despite this, I come to Malaysia with the same goals and I remain focused and motivated. The Malaysian Grand Prix is still an unusual race that will probably be difficult, because of the heat. But, because it is only the third time we compete on this track, all the teams still need to improve their knowledge of the technical requirements. However, I intend to do my best this weekend and this means finishing in the points on Sunday. "