The 2016 Formula One World Championship season continues this weekend with Round 16, the Malaysian Grand Prix, from Sepang
·Nico: 'I've had a good run lately and I'm enjoying the moment'
·Lewis: 'I just have to keep giving it my all and hope for the best'
·Toto: 'The drivers are pushing each other to new heights'
·Paddy: 'We've seen some very eventful races in Malaysia over the years'
·Featured this Week: Cool Performance in Malaysia
·Vital Statistics: Sepang
Singapore was a perfect weekend for me. I felt great in the car, had a fantastic qualifying, made a strong start and then came out on top after a really intense battle with Daniel Ricciardo at the end of the race, which made the win all the more fulfilling. The team did such an impressive job understanding what went wrong last year and turning it around. I'm massively proud of everyone for that. It's an incredible position to be in as a driver, knowing you have a shot at winning every weekend. I won't take it for granted. I've had a good run lately and I'm enjoying the moment. But as far as the next race goes, or the next one after that and so on… it's anyone's game. Red Bull and Ferrari are both pushing us really hard, so there will be some tough weekends ahead. It's exciting for the fans and pushes us even harder to keep improving, so that's a great thing. Malaysia didn't work out perfectly for us last year, so if we can win it this time against such tough opposition that would be really awesome. I can't wait to see all the guys from Petronas who work so hard to give us that extra competitive advantage and hopefully give them something to cheer about at their home race.
Singapore was a difficult weekend for me, so to come away with a podium in the circumstances was pretty good damage limitation. Ultimately, Nico did an exceptional job and I didn't have my best weekend. But that's the way it goes. We're both fiercely competitive. Some weekends he does great, some weekends I do great. It's a combination of things that all come together to make a strong weekend and every one is different. I have no idea if the momentum will swing back to me or when it might. But we still have six races left, so I just have to keep giving it my all and hope for the best. That's all you can do as a sportsman. It's going to take some good results to get back in front and stay there – but I'v e had plenty of those in the past, so there's no reason to think they won't come back to me again. Sepang is my first shot at it and I'm really looking forward to getting out there. It's a track I usually go pretty well at – plus we have some really fantastic support from the Malaysian people, including all the guys and girls from Petronas. It should be a great weekend, so if we can get a result to match that would be awesome. Let's see how it goes…
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
We saw Formula One at its best in Singapore. Just like in football, where you have good games and bad ones, this was a classic. I'm proud of the team for how we bounced back after last year and we take our hats off to Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo too, as they made it a huge battle. This is how Formula One should be and, although it was extremely tense, I thoroughly enjoyed the race. Now we go to Malaysia, which is a big weekend for us. To win in what feels like our second home, in front of thousands of friends and partners from Petronas, would be very special. But, like Singapore, this was a race where we underperformed last year, so we will need to push hard to put that right. We can guarantee that the drivers will be doing just that. This year more than ever, we've seen that they are pushing each other to new heights. We're entering a gruelling phase of this record 21 race season, where the physical and mental challenge of a Championship reaches its absolute peak. We're in good shape – but we must remain on our toes to get the ball over the line.
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
We're all very much looking forward to Malaysia. With Kuala Lumpur being the home of Petronas, we very much see this as one of our home Grands Prix. In 2015 we didn't manage to secure the win, which was hugely disappointing to us, so we have all the more motivation to come back and get it right this time around. Focusing on the technical aspects of the circuit, it's a very challenging weekend. The heat and humidity make life tough for drivers, team and cars alike, while the track action can often be affected by rain, which tends to be very heavy and arrive very suddenly. As such, we've seen some very eventful races in Malaysia over the years. The nominated tyre compounds for this event are the hard, medium and soft, with the unusual scenario of the hard as the obligatory race compound – meaning that, if the race remains dry, every driver must use that tyre. The characteristic of the circuit itself is more 'normal' than that of Monza or Singapore, which were more focused on more specific areas of car performance. Sepang places an even emphasis on power, aero efficiency and mechanical grip, so we're looking forward to seeing how we fare and aiming to put in a strong performance for the Malaysian fans.
Featured This Week: Cool Performance in Malaysia
In mission-critical situations that arise on track during the course of a Grand Prix weekend, engineers on the pit wall need to make the right calls within seconds. And, since the beginning of the 2016 season, those on the Silver Arrows pit wall have benefitted from a more comfortable working environment in which to make those race-defining decisions thanks to a new air conditioning system, supported by fans from ebm-papst.
On the Mercedes AMG Petronas Pit Wall, five engineers monitor the performance of both cars during each race – paying close attention to even the smallest of details. The strategists, for example, must analyse over 150,000 possible scenarios in real time to help determine the plan for each race.
Following on from the successful implementation of a unique garage cooling solution introduced in 2014, the air conditioning system used to keep team members and electronic systems on the pit wall cool has also been significantly improved for the 2016 season. A simple fan with uncooled air previously did the job – but now, fresh technology has added a new level of cool performance.
The switch to real air conditioning makes the working environment on the pit wall far more comfortable for those key team members operating from this work station. Even during races in hot locations, such as those in Asia, it has now become significantly more straightforward to remain cool – even in the heat of a track battle. Electronic systems on the pit wall also now run at optimal operating temperatures, which is crucial to ensuring the team has the tools needed at its disposal functioning correctly at all times.
The engineers can adjust the amount of cool air directed towards them via a total of 10 air outlets installed between the top of the pit wall work surface and the telemetry monitors. Two air conditioning units on the sides of the command center generate cold air, before the high-performance centrifugal blowers from ebm-papst, with their single inlets and forward-curved blades, guide that air into the outlets and across the electronic systems.
It was a simple decision for the team to choose their fan supplier for such a system. Having already successfully delivered a number of projects with ebm-papst, including the garage air conditioning system and on-car cooling hardware, ebm-papst were the logical choice. The ability to quickly supply the ideal fans for the application from their product range and ensure that the project could be turned around as quickly as possible provided the team with a critical advantage.