Valtteri Bottas says the Malaysian Grand Prix is likely to “be a real challenge” for all of the teams.
Williams has yet to show its full potential after a disappointing wet qualifying performance in Australia was followed by Felipe Massa retiring on the opening lap and Bottas finishing fifth after suffering a puncture. While expectations are high for a recovery at Sepang, Bottas has warned that the heat in Malaysia will make it very difficult for all of the teams to extract the maximum performance from their cars.
“Malaysia will be a real challenge for us, but also something the other teams will have to deal with too,” Bottas said. “Cooling will be a major factor as the temperatures are so high, there is also still a lot to learn about the new power units, so this heat adds to this learning curve.
“It could be the hottest race this season and having it at the start of the season when people are trying to develop what they have isn't the easiest of tasks. Physically for the drivers it isn't easy; we have to work hard in the off-season so we are ready for times like this. The track itself is very nice; it has some great high speed sections which are my favourite parts of the circuit.”
Team-mate Massa agreed that the race would be tough for the drivers, and is also wary of how the 2014 Pirelli tyres will hold up.
“Malaysia is a nice place to race, it's a hot and humid race which makes it a physically tough one for the drivers,” Massa said. “The heat also has a big effect on the tyres and how quickly degradation happens. These extreme temperatures means Malaysia is less like any other circuit we will race at.
“When you go to Malaysia you can never count out the weather either, there is always the chance of rain, its heavy rain too, and this can happen at the end of nearly every day. All of these factors mean the race is always exciting from a fans point of view but these changes are tough for the drivers. I'm looking forward to having a good race there.”