Grand Prix 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

So, after the thrills and (mainly) spills that was Australia, we move onto the greenhouse that is Malaysia for the second round of the championship. Situated just outside of the capital Kuala Lumpur, the Sepang International Circuit is fast, flowing, has numerous overtaking opportunities and is a real test for the driver, partly down to the inevitable and often oppressive heat and humidity. With the new regulations for this year, expect numerous driver errors and for the cars to be placed under immense mechanical pressure.

The Sepang circuit is the first of the Tilke circuits and the GP's inaugural year in 1999 paved the way for the Asian expansion of Formula 1, with races in China, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Korea and India added to the calendar in recent years - although the last two have since departed from the travelling circus that is F1.

When one thinks of Malaysia, rain is one of the fist thoughts that occur. The race has been affected numerous times, most notably in 2001, 2009 (the race was unable to be finished, so half-points were awarded), qualifying in 2010 (two Ferraris and two McLarens at the back of the grid) and in 2012. With the high heat & humidity threatening to spark off rain showers any time, expect rain to play a big part in the weekend.

As for the pecking order, it is mainly unclear apart from the fact that Mercedes are miles in front of anyone else, and those with a Mercedes engine are all doing reasonably well. However, it is McLaren leading the constructors championship after a 3rd and 4th in Melbourne. Whilst it may not seem significant now, the points accrued in the early races may be pivotal in the championship as after all, every race is worth the same (oh wait, that's not right).

For some stupid reason, we now have to wait for two weeks before the race weekend, so there's plenty of time for discussion, dissection and disagreement.

So..... Ready, Steady, Discuss!!!
Biggest question for me is will flight MH370 appear half way through the race? More seriously, It's looking like a Mercedes benefit for the first few races but Red Bull's pace in Oz was interesting and I suspect Vettel to be back amongst the front runners in Malaysia. I wonder if McLaren will be as high up if Williams don't have daft incidents?
Bottas started 15th and had to pit for a puncture and still finished 5th in oz so expecting him and Massa to at least keep Mercs honest in Malaysia. Of course it could all be thrown out by another wet quali.

I expect Mclaren to be at a watching distance too prob mixing it with the Ferrari's and Vettel as expect the Red Bull to be slightly less pacey with the correct fuel flow!
If Red Bull still have cooling issues then i would expect there cars at some point in the race weekend to spontaneously combust. Barring any Mechanical issues i can't see anyone other than a Mercedes driver winning the race.
I think Williams' potential pace is the first sign of a tantalising challenge to Mercedes, really.

In fact, it was very like Australia 2009. One team (Brawn/Merc) seem clearly dominant, another (Williams/Toyota) look like they could be quick but for various reasons can't show it, the defending champions (RBR/McLaren) look on for poor pace but are disqualified from a podium, Toro Rosso get a double points finish, Ferrari are somewhere in the midfield and Enstone are completely unable to get a grip on ERS.
Great comparison season on season the teabagyokel

This GP is looking like it will be a true test of the reliability of the engines. I was surprised with the relative lack of mechanical issues in Aus, these F1 teams have done an awful lot of work in such a short amount of time to get these cars reliable. I didn't hear any calls from the pit wall saying "Cool the car, NOW!"
Before the next race you have to get the teams to Malaysia , by air, lets hope they don't all disappear in the Malaysian triangle.
The air transport is provided by Mr Ecclestone so there will be no problems at all. Unless someone gives a big backhander to someone else.
We did not see a true test of the reduced fuel loads in the Australian GP so I hope we see flag to flag racing in Malaysia. I do not like to see the safety car used as frequently as it is.
We did not see a true test of the reduced fuel loads in the Australian GP so I hope we see flag to flag racing in Malaysia. I do not like to see the safety car used as frequently as it is.

You must have really hated Canada 2011 then? :)
Or Brazil/Abu Dhabi/Valencia 2012, Monaco 2011, Australia/China/Korea 2010, Monaco/Canada/Brazil 2008, Canada/Germany 2007 and you get the idea...
Yeah, but that was mostly one safety car, Canada 2011 had 3 if i'm not mistaken.
Although Fuji 2008 has got to be the king safety car wise, half of that race was behind the safety car.
The point I was making mjo , is that he doesn't like the safety car used as frequently as it is, yet it only came out once. That's why i brought up canada, cause there it came out 3 times.
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