Ferrari and Toyota were impressive during testing in the F1 off-season but both teams had a disappointing Australian Grand Prix. But Sepang will be a different story, the teams say.
Ferrari and Toyota were impressive during testing in the F1 off-season but both teams had a disappointing race at the Australian Grand Prix last week. But this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, which will be held at Sepang, will be a different story - they say.
Ferrari’s five-time world champion, Michael Schumacher, told on Monday he had a good chance of winning the Malaysian Grand Prix and that he wanted to reassert his dominant position after finishing fourth in Melbourne.
The German said Ferrari would continue racing the uprated F-2002 rather than put the new F2003-GA into competition: "We have to look at the positive aspects which emerged in Melbourne.
"Our "old" car is still absolutely competitive, both in terms of reliability and performance. We had hoped and thought it would be and events over the weekend proved it.
"Some people reckoned we could have already introduced the new car in Sepang, but within the team this has never even been a subject for discussion. Furthermore, I feel it will be beneficial, for a race run in such extreme conditions, to use a car we know well."
Schumacher also said that it was clear the competition was getting closer and that “some great duels” could be expected.
In the four years the race has been run, Schumacher has won at Sepang twice, in 2000 and 2001. “I am convinced I have a good chance of winning in Malaysia. It has been something of a tradition there and I will be trying to extend it," he added.
Meanwhile, Toyota driver Olivier Panis was confident of a good showing in Malaysia after the team failed to live up to many people’s expectations at the Australian Grand Prix.
The Toyota showed promise in Melbourne and the Frenchman qualified the TF103 fifth on the grid - the highest position the Japanese team has achieved since entering F1.
However, a wrong tyre choice and the variable conditions of the weather-affected race saw Panis fall back before retiring with a broken fuel pump. His team-mate Cristiano da Matta spun out.
"I am very confident for the Malaysian Grand Prix because we proved in Melbourne that the Toyota is a quick car,” Panis told . “All we need to do now is find the reliability that we showed in pre-season testing and then I am sure that we can get a good result before too long.
"During the test (in Jerez, Spain last week) we tried various new parts on the car, including some improvements to our engine braking.
“The average speed at Sepang is high and the only track on which we have tested with the TF103 during the winter that is remotely similar is Barcelona and we have been quick around Barcelona...
”Which is another reason for us to be quietly confident for the Malaysian Grand Prix,” the French veteran added.
Original article from Car