19 March 2013
Sepang will suit Sauber, says Hulkenberg
After experiencing disappointment in the first race of the season in Melbourne, Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg is expecting better fortunes in Malaysia.
Nico Hulkenberg might still be smarting from the bitter disappointment of not even making the start of last weekend's F1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, but he's optimistic of better things in store for him and his Sauber team mate Esteban Gutierrez in the second race of the season in Malaysia.
"Compared to Melbourne, the track in Malaysia has different characteristics," he explained. "It's a fast track with long high-speed corners, which should suit our car well."
Sauber's head of track engineering, Tom McCullough, agreed with Hulkenberg's analysis and was able to elaborate further on what the team was expecting to face there.
“The Sepang circuit is a medium to high-speed one, and we look forward to seeing how the C32 performs there," he said. The circuit is technically challenging as there are also two long straights that require an efficient car and also several low-speed corners."
Sepang International Circuit will be a huge change in terms of the weather the drivers are expecting as well. After a lovely Friday in Melbourne, the F1 teams suffered a cool, windy, overcast and most of all wet weekend in Australia, but Malaysia will be very different - up to to a point.
"For the drivers Malaysia is always a challenge because of the high temperatures and the humidity," agreed Hulkenberg.
"The circuit's characteristics and typically high temperatures are also a real challenge for the tyres, which is why Pirelli will bring the medium and hard compounds," added McCullough.
However, the question of more rain is not so easily dismissed, with forecasts pointing towards unsettled and possibly very wet conditions for the upcoming race weekend.
"The weather can also play a significant part during the race weekend as late afternoon rain showers are common," said McCullough.
"There is always a chance of rain, which can be interesting, especially at the start of the race," contributed Hulkenberg, in something of a masterclass of understatement: a typical shower in Malaysia can make those that halted qualifying in Australia look like gentle spring drizzle.
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