Vettel and Red Bull have started exactly where they left off last year and Malaysia holds promise of an awesome race with more than a 50% chance of rain. With the late afternoon time slot ensuring a question of “How much rain?” rather than “Will it rain?”, a wet race is most certainly on the cards. A wet or a drying track will in itself provide us with quite some action. Club that with the Pirelli’s in the warmer, more humid Malaysian climate, and the potential to use the DRS at the back straight and the subsequent start finish straight – it all adds up to a weekend of some mental racing and tons of overtaking.
The DRS around Albert Park proved that it can help with overtaking by giving the trailing car an additional 19 – 24 kmph on the straight. The FIA have not yet confirmed where the drag reducing wing will be allowed to be used around the Kuala Lampur circuit, but the two long straights are one after the other and that could just add the extra juice to the system, with one car having the advantage on one straight, and the car that has just been overtaken could have the same advantage on the next straight. This will allow strategy to come into play, with the driver behind using the system on the first straight to just get close enough to push again on the next straight in order to keep the advantage with himself, rather than allow the other driver a chance to come back at him.
Mercedes GP and Ferrari will be raring to have a go at the Red Bulls, Mclarens, & Renaults again, with the latter teams having had a better start at the season opener. Alonso and Massa targeting a better qualifying to ensure they dont get caught up in the crowded midfield. Perez and Kobayashi will be trying to keep the rest of the pack behind them, while the Williams have to make good of the promise of their revolutionary design. Force India’s luck paid off at Albert Park, and they benefited from Saubers disqualification. It remains to be seen if they have the force to make it through to the top ten on merit alone. Toro Rosso are quietly going about their business and will not be too far behind the top ten, though the finger pointing between the two drivers does not create the ideal atmosphere for them to thrive in.
Lotus is aiming for points, while HRT is praying to qualify, provided their new Geoff Willis designed front wing passes the crash test. Geoff Willis has worked under Adrian Newey at Williams and has spent time at BAR and Red Bull before accepting the challenge to rev up the development of HRT and get them higher up the grid. The new wing with the all new aerodynamic package is being hailed to push Hispania into the midfield ahead of Virgin and Lotus.