Vodafone McLaren Mercedes at the 2007 Malaysian Grand Prix – Dwyane Thomas

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has arrived at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia leading the Constructors’ Championship; this was after its double podium finish at the season opener held in Australia.

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has arrived at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia leading the Constructors’ Championship; this was after its double podium finish at the season opener held in Australia.

Most of you are probably wondering if the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team members were able to return to Europe after the Melbourne race. Most of the majority of the team returned to Europe including engineers, management, gmechanics, and marketing. However 28 members of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team have headed directly to Malaysia for the test at the Sepang circuit. Two additional race team representatives returned to the UK before joining the other team members in Malaysia. The rest of the team has followed last April 1.

For the fans of Fernando, Lewis and Pedro in case you want to know where they have spent their time. Fernando returned to Europe after the Australian Grand Prix before joining the rest of the team in Malaysia. Lewis on other hand flew to Bangkok from Melbourne and traveled to Koh Samui before heading to Malaysia. He also traveled to Bali following the final test session and before returning to KL. Pedro for his part traveled to the UK after the Australian race to continue working on the development programme with the team.

The team Vodafone in Malaysia
Due to the hot climate in Malaysia the team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes incorporated a sufficient cooling package to the MP4-22 to allow them to race in such temperature. The MP4-22 is equipped with Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engine which is based on the Formula 1 engine owned by Mercedes-Benz—popular German brand name of automobiles, buses, coaches, trucks and auto components such as Mercedes struts. The team installs fans in the garages to keep the ambient temperatures as cool as possible.

The greatest concern of the team was to avoid dehydration since it affects concentration, balance control, reflexes and ultimately driving performance. The drivers prepare by increasing their fluid levels in anticipation of the hot climate they would have to bear in Malaysia. Aside from dehydration there is also the time zone adaptation which the drivers have to deal with which can cause a combination of physical and the psychological stress.

Here are some of the popular Team Quotes:

Fernando Alonso
“It was a solid start to the season in Australia. We knew we were not as quick as the Ferrari’s so we had a good result in light of this. In the early part of the season it is important to keep scoring points and finishing on the podium as we push forward with our development programme. The nature of Sepang is quite technical, and the car needs to be really strong in every area. All the important corners tend to be high-speed, so you need a perfect car balance and good aerodynamics. Everyone within Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has been pushing really hard since the Australian Grand Prix to try to close the gap. I have always gone well at Sepang, winning there in 2005 and finishing second there last year. So, my memories from the track are great, we will try hard to add to these this year! It is always a tough race physically, on the team as a whole and the cars, but we are prepared for that and after what has seemed to be a long gap after Melbourne, we all really want to get back to racing.”

 Lewis Hamilton
“From what I had seen of the track before arriving for the test this week, I thought it looked like a great circuit and I was not disappointed. Its layout means you can build up a great rhythm, with all the corners running into each other. It is also really wide, which I imagine will lead to exciting racing. The four days of testing this week were really useful on two counts. We had a number of developments to the car that we ran and will now bring to the race, and I was able to learn the track prior to the event. I am now looking forward to competitive action here. As I said at the time, it was a dream start for me in Australia, but I am realistic that motorsport is unpredictable and things don’t always go so well. We have all been working to reduce the gap to Ferrari and I will do my best with Fernando and the team towards this in Malaysia.”

 Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula 1, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“To be entering the second Grand Prix of the season heading the Constructors’ Championship is of course pleasing and a positive start, however we have to now take that performance and try to build on it. In addition to coming away from Australia with the two podium finishes, we were also able to learn more about the MP4-22 and how we can find the additional performance required. We have to work in a hard and focused manner to improve, but ensure we keep scoring well during the process. Fernando and Lewis both had great debuts with the team and we are working with them to keep this momentum that is in the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team going.”

Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“After the good start to the season with second and third places for Fernando and Lewis in Melbourne, we now look forward to the Malaysian Grand Prix. In particular, we like to remember Kimi Raikkonen’s first victory with the team, which he clinched in Sepang in 2003. The team has prepared for the second Grand Prix of the year testing in Sepang from 27th to 30th March and we have worked on further improvements for our technical package. At the Sepang Circuit, conditions will be completely different from Melbourne. With ambient temperatures of about 40 degrees Celsius and very high humidity the entire package and the engines will face a big challenge, particularly because they will be raced for the second weekend. Under these difficult conditions, almost 70 percent of a lap will be run under full throttle. The race is always one of the toughest of the year and very demanding also for the drivers. At this time of the year, Malaysia has always been notorious for changing weather – there is a good chance for a race feeling as though it is taking place in a sauna – steam bath included.”

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