More to come for Etihad Aldar Spyker in Malaysia

30.03.2007: More to come for Etihad Aldar Spyker in Malaysia

After its race debut two weeks ago in the opening round of the FIA Formula One World Championship in Melbourne, Australia, the newly-rebranded Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One Team will be back in action for the second event of the year in Sepang, Malaysia, from 6 - 8 April.

The team's performance throughout the Australian race weekend was on a par with expectations, with Adrian Sutil showing well in Qualifying and Christijan Albers keeping pace with the pack in the first part of the race. However, with the major aero upgrade planned for introduction in Malaysia, this time out the team could be up there racing for position.

Both F8-VII cars will feature revised bodywork, sidepod inlets, bargeboards and a modified diffuser to increase aerodynamic efficiency. This major upgrade is a direct result of the team's new partnership with Aerolab, which allows the team access to a second wind tunnel and 30 additional staff.

As the Etihad Aldar Spyker team did not participate in the extended Sepang test from 27 - 30 March, it will now use the two 90-minute Friday practice sessions to test the new parts in representative race conditions. Both race drivers, Christijan Albers and Adrian Sutil, will be installed in the car on Friday to acclimatise to the new mods and the challenging Malaysian climate conditions.

Team Quotes

Colin Kolles, team principal and managing director, 'After Australia I said we should be positive about the team's race performance over that weekend, and now I think we have even more reason to be upbeat. Adrian has one race distance under his belt, Christijan is very motivated and we have a significant upgrade that will allow both drivers the opportunity to race for position.'

Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer, 'We were where we expected to be in Australia in Qualifying time difference, but on race pace we were pretty close to the group in front. For Malaysia the goal is now to transfer the aero upgrade onto the car and move forward. The simulations we have conducted in the wind tunnel suggest the modifications will give a significant increase in performance and hopefully we will be able to move further up the field.'

Driver Quotes

Christijan Albers, (car no 21, F8-VII/01): 'I'm looking forward to the second race now as we all know the first did not go so well! I really want to get a good result, especially with the team working so hard to push the update through. Sepang is a very interesting track and I'm looking forward to getting there and getting back on track.'

Adrian Sutil, (car no 20, F8-VII/03): 'I've never raced at Sepang before, but I am familiar with the layout and am looking forward to getting back in the car. I learnt a lot in Australia and now I want to put that into practice in Malaysia. The aim is to be fast, not to pick up any penalties - which I know won't happen again - and do a good race.'

Event Facts

The 5.543km Sepang International Circuit, 60km from the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, was the first of the purpose-built Hermann Tilke-designed circuits to appear on the FIA Formula One World Championship calendar in 1999. Even now, the track is still regarded as one of the best and most challenging of the recent generation of new circuits.

Built in a natural amphitheatre on the site of a former palm plantation, the facility provides superb views for spectators. From anywhere in the grandstands, fans can see at least 50% of the track and from the hibiscus-shaped shaded grandstand on the main pit straight, a view of at least 70% is possible.

You'd want to see as much as you can too as the 15-turn track contains a variety of corners, from a tight second gear hairpin leading on to the pit straight to two high-speed sweeping corners at turns five and six and a fast double-apex right hander. With such tricky combinations of corners, braking stability is key, although with understeer predominating in the long slower corners, getting a good balance can be difficult.

With 70% humidity and searing temperatures, the race is one of the most physically demanding that the drivers visit over the course the season. Performance too can be compromised by the heat as the circuit loses grip during the heat of the day as tyre and aerodynamic performance drops. The high temperatures mean a real test for the cooling systems too, and with the engines now on the second race of their cycle, they will be carefully monitored to ensure reliability.

Tyre supplier Bridgestone will bring the hard and medium tyres to Malaysia; the first time that the team will have used the latest Potenza tyres in genuinely hot conditions.

The 56-lap race start will start at 15:00 local time, an hour later than the customary start time - just in time to potentially catch one of the dramatic mid-afternoon rain showers.

 

- Lucy Nell-

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30.03.2007 / MaP

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