F1Weekly podcast # 562

Photo: axisofoversteer

F1weekly podcast number 562 Desiree’s 2012 F1 Grand Preview


The first Hermann Tilke-built Formula One track hosts its 14th Malaysian Grand Prix this year, and it’s endeared itself to the teams and drivers over that period. It has several quick corners, particularly turns 5 and 6, and a couple of long straights and the high ambient temperatures make it a real test of man and machine. Efficient downforce is vital at this track, so expect the best cars to stretch their legs at the front.

Mark Gillan: Chief Operations Engineer: The whole team are really buzzing after the good pace shown in both qualifying and in the race in Melbourne. We are now eager to capitalise on this performance and convert it into points in Malaysia. The Sepang track is a medium speed circuit, which is quite hard on the front tyres. With this in mind, Pirelli have specified both the hard and medium tyres. Despite the high ambient temperatures, humidity and chance of late afternoon rain the likelihood of a safety car is low, and indeed is the lowest of the entire season. Aerodynamically we shall be running a similar package to that in Australia, but will probably have to open up the cooling levels to allow for the increase in ambient temperature.

Pastor Maldonado: The next race in Malaysia will be a real challenge for all the teams due to the hot and humid conditions we find there. The team is feeling positive and our car looks competitive, so we’ll do our best to be in the top 10 again. I feel confident in the team and all the hard work we have done over the winter. I want to carry the momentum we had in Australia forward to get a good result in Malaysia.

Bruno Senna: It is a very tough track, very physical and the heat is a big issue in Malaysia. It will be important to get acclimatised to the heat ahead of the weekend and get a good car set-up for these conditions. We will then try to chip away and continue what we learnt in Australia. I’ve been to Sepang before so I know the track, and I’m looking forward to the race weekend.

Remi Taffin, Head of Renault Sport F1 Track Operations: Malaysia places a very different set of stresses on an engine from Australia. The heat and humidity can present stiff challenges for an engine’s cooling systems that may mean extra holes have to be put in the bodywork to diffuse heat. The safeguards Renault has put in place mean no such measures need to be taken with the RS27 so we can focus entirely on delivering the drivability needed for the flowing corners and those two long straights, which account for 25% of the lap, and building on the strong start in Melbourne.

Paul Hembrey, Pirelli Motorsport Director: For Malaysia we have nominated the P Zero Yellow soft tyre, which was used in Australia, and the P Zero White medium compound, making its debut this year. One of the biggest challenges of Sepang are the tropical conditions, which mean high temperatures, high humidity and the strong chance of a downpour. All these factors, along with quite an abrasive surface, place plenty of demand on the tyres. We have a new evolution of the intermediate and wet tyre – the Cinturato Green and Cinturato Blue – which could see action in Malaysia for the first time.


Motorsports Mondial

FIA European F3 Championship founded

In close cooperation of the World Motor Sport Association, FIA, and the organisers of the two leading European Formula 3 championships – the Formula 3 Euro Series (organised by DMSB and ITR) as well as the British Formula 3 (organised by MSA/SRO) – a cross-series European Formula 3 Championship is announced. In 2012, the new championship’s calendar comprises 10 events held in seven countries.

Within the framework of the latest World Motor Sport Council meeting, the FIA passed the general conditions for the new championship that replaces last year’s FIA Formula 3 International Trophy. As partner of Formula 3, FIA is going to remain involved in the coming years when it comes to the promotion of young and skilled drivers. The race calendar was created on the basis of the race weekends of the two Formula 3 championships involved. Eight of the 10 European Championship rounds will be held within the framework of the Formula 3 Euro Series and in addition, two of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series rounds also will be decorated with the European Championship status. Precondition for participating in the new FIA approved series is an entry as permanent competitor in one of the two basis championships. Currently, the Formula 3 Euro Series entry list comprises 15 drivers from nine countries. First reactions already demonstrated that the FIA approval has caused increased interest of drivers and teams and arguably could result in additional entries.

The most successful competitors will be offered the opportunity to test Formula 1, DTM and Formula 2 vehicles, thus attracting additional attention. “For the European motor-racing young guns, Formula 3 now represents an even more attractive field of activity,” said Dr Hans-Gerd Ennser, DMSB board member car racing. “Together with our partners, we succeeded in creating a format that will consolidate the existing championships on the one hand while promising drivers, teams and spectators top-class motor racing on the other.” Entering the new FIA approved series is made particularly attractive by the fact that there is far more to win than just the title: an extraordinary package of valuable prizes for the most successful competitors. Following the season, the three top-placed drivers will be offered the chance of demonstrating their skills during two days of Formula 2 testing. In addition, the vice-champion will be rewarded with a DTM test – and the European Formula 3 Champion may look forward to a very special highlight: he will execute a Formula 1 test for Ferrari. The entry deadline for the new series is the 18th April, 2012. Interested teams can request information by email at [email protected] In addition, they can contact the Formula 3 Euro Series organisers at [email protected] for additional queries.