What can happen in Malaysia?
That question cannot be answered in reality. It is completely unpredictable. We still don’t know who will finish, and who won’t. We don’t know what upgrades teams will bring. But based on the history of the Malaysian GP and last week’s Australian GP, let’s take a look at what could happen from a 2014 point of view, and from a Malaysian GP point of view.
The Malaysian GP
The first thing that comes to mind is rain. Not just rain. A monsoon. Malaysia is famous for mixing races up with its weather. In 2009, Malaysia planned a night race, but decided to go for a late-afternoon start instead. This was disastrous, as rainfall delayed the start. It got very late and there wasn’t enough light to
continue the race. Only 33 laps were completed and teams were awarded half points.
Although it may seem that the chances of a safety car deployment are quite high, Malaysia is the only track which had 0 deployments in 10 races, so historically, the chances are very low. It was in fact deployed in 2009, however statistically, the race finished on lap 31, while the safety car was deployed on lap 32, shortly before the red flag. This year could be different if we get some rain. The cars have so much torque that the cars will simply slide out with no grip.
From the prospective of the 2014 season:
From a 2014 perspective, first of all we have the track layout. The new aerodynamic regulations mean the cars will have significantly less aerodynamic grip for corners like turns 5-6 or 12-13 which require incredible aerodynamics. So far, those corners were completed at almost full power but this year, drivers will have to slow down and gain time on the straights where the engine will do the work for them. The ERS will also have a hard job, with the amount of straights on the track. In terms of the new brake-by-wire system, teams will really need to focus on getting it right as the heavy braking around the circuit will be
very dangerous if you don’t know how to work your rear brakes. Could we see another Kobayashi or Grosjean situation?
In terms of performance of teams, we now know who’s more competitive. Of course teams will bring upgrades to the Malaysian Grand Prix, but so far we can nominate Mercedes as the favourite to take the win. Lewis Hamilton will be looking for more reliability in his car this time, to make a comeback after an
unlucky Australian GP. Red Bull will also hope to deal with Sebastian Vettel’s car’s problems. They are likely to run behind this time, to make sure that fuel flow regulations aren’t breached and they aren’t disqualified again. Williams could say they also had an unlucky Australian GP, despite Valtteri Bottas’
5th position. They surely know it could have been better, as that position was earned after a puncture, while Felipe Massa was taken out by Kamui Kobayashi in the first corner. McLaren also proved to be competitive, after earning 2nd and 3rd positions in Australian (after Ricciardo’s disqualification).
Over the two week break, Lotus will be hard at work, along with Renault. Both the Lotus cars had to retire with ERS failures in Melbourne, so the team will want to score some points this time, or at least a finish. Ferrari will also be hard at work on their electronics. They ran in Melbourne with electrical problems since the start of the race.
The Italian team will want to improve their positions too, but this will be very hard for them, especially with Kimi Raikkonen who was struggling with the brake-by-wire system.
At the back of the grid, Marussia will be improving a lot, after problems with starting in Australia. Both cars had to start from the pitlane after Max Chilton’s car stalled before the formation lap. The stewards decided to run a second formation lap, before which Bianchi had also stalled.
The Final View Point:
With rain predicted for all three days so far, the Malaysian GP will surely be an exciting one! Mercedes will probably lead the pack, while Williams could struggle in the rain again. McLaren will surely fight for a podium finish, but it is all completely unpredictable.
Written By: Jakub Kot