Malaysia is a stunning country and I always enjoy coming here. The fans are fantastic and it also forms one of three home races for the team alongside Germany and Great Britain. We have some exciting events planned with PETRONAS during the days building up to the race weekend so it will be a busy week but a lot of fun. I finished second on my Formula One debut here in 2007 and have been on the podium at the last two Malaysian Grands Prix but I’ve yet to win here. It would be amazing to stand on the top step at one of our home races and I’m looking forward to bouncing back after a tough weekend in Australia. Although it was not the result we were hoping for, every setback is a chance to learn more about this new car, which is important as they’re incredibly complex machines. I know the team at Brackley and Brixworth is pushing harder than ever and I’ll be doing the same.
The Malaysian Grand Prix is the home race for PETRONAS so it’s always a busy and exciting weekend. Sepang holds some great memories for me too as I achieved my first podium for Mercedes here at the start of the 2010 season. Normally the weather is seen as the biggest challenge here but this season is different, with reliability the focus of everyone’s attention. Of course, it will still be hot, humid and probably wet at some stage too, so it should be a fascinating weekend. Australia was the perfect start to my season, but it also highlighted that we’re not 100% there yet in terms of reliability. We’ve had two weeks before this race to identify all the things that we can do better, so hopefully we can bring both cars home for a good result this weekend and continue our strong start to the year.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
We head to Malaysia looking forward to an exciting week: not just at the circuit, but off track as well with PETRONAS. This is the third time we have worked together to bring Formula One to the streets of Kuala Lumpur and it is a great opportunity to bring our Malaysian fans closer to their team. As one of our home races, we are extremely motivated to get a good result here. The first race in Australia left us with mixed emotions. Neither of our drivers put a foot wrong all weekend but unfortunately only one came away with the result he deserved. We know that reliability will be crucial to this long season and we have been working hard to improve the situation for the race in Malaysia. We made a solid start to the year in Melbourne, but we are very aware that not one percent of effort can be dropped if we are to remain competitive.
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
While we were pleased to come away from Melbourne with a win, we were also left with plenty to think about. As is to be expected with such new technology, we are learning more about the car with every lap. This inevitably brings more problems to the surface, all of which require careful management. Our priority has therefore been to arrive in Malaysia in better shape mechanically than we left Australia. This race presents a very different set of challenges in terms of both the climate and the demands of the circuit layout. Sepang is a permanent race track which is generally a lot more differentiating of the cars; particularly with regard to aerodynamics. As always, reliability and endurance will be crucial, but we believe this venue will provide a more accurate representation of the relative pace between teams. It should be an interesting weekend.