Like most of his colleagues, Romain Grosjean appreciates the Sepang track although he reckons Malaysia is also the toughest race on the F1 calendar.
Drivers left behind Singapore’s hot and humid environment only to head to a venue which provides even more of a physical challenge, a bit like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
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If anything however, a weekend of racing in Marina Bay is the best preparation for the grueling trial which awaits everyone in Malaysia.
“I’m fine with it, generally. Singapore was tough, but it wasn’t too tough,” says the Haas driver..
“Malaysia will be physically harder, but we’re going to get more cooling inside the car because of the longer straights. I’m not worried.”
Drivers won’t have the benefit of racing in a slightly cooler evening environment at Sepang as work is conducted under the glare of the sun, which adds to difficulties which include massive energy loads.
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“It is because of that and because there are more fast corners. Fast corners are where you get the big g-force, and that’s what we have to fight inside the car,” says Grosjean.”
“I think it’s pretty much the hardest race of the year. Singapore is a slower track with slower corners, whereas Malaysia has high speed with high loads.
“Again, it’s a great challenge, a great track, and when you have a good car, it’s an amazing experience.”
The French driver also underlines the importance of mental preparation, if only to endure Malaysia’s physically draining efforts.
“It’s always very important. Of course, when you are physically suffering as well, it’s more important to stay calm.
“It’s like riding up a hill and someone’s trying to chat to you or your phone is ringing nonstop. You can get fed up with that very quickly simply because you’re tired. You just need to be ready for every race.”
But when everything is going according to plan, Sepang offers huge satisfaction for a driver says Grosjean.
“There are some big straight lines with good top speed, and then some big braking zones. It’s a track with high tire degradation. Overtaking is really good fun at Sepang.
“I’ve always loved the track. It’s been my favorite track for a very long time. I just love the layout.
“There’s no one particular race that I remember significantly, except maybe (Fernando) Alonso’s race when he won and couldn’t stand on the podium because he was completely dehydrated. For me, I just love the track.”
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