MALAYSIAN GP, FRIDAY 23 MARCH 2012
Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean took to the
track for the first practice sessions of the
second round of the 2012 Formula 1 World
Championship at Sepang in hot and humid
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director
- Technical programme notes
In FP1 we completed general set-up work followed
by race set-up work in FP2.
We ran solely with Pirelli’s hard compound in
the first session.
Kimi concentrated on the medium tyre in the
afternoon session; Romain concentrated on the
This was a ‘standard’ Friday programme, distinct
from the rain-interrupted first day in
We evaluated a new steering rack set-up for Kimi
in both session.
Romain had an isuue with an incorrectly seated
rear wheel nut in the morning and a cut rear
tyre in the afternoon.
Kimi’s KERS was not operating perfectly in the
What we learned today:
The E20 worked well on the Sepang circuit with a
good baseline set-up.
Our initial impressions are that we are in good
shape for Sunday’s race.
Kimi reported a small improvement from the
latest steering specification, which we will use
for the rest of this weekend.
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-03
Free practice 1: P7, 1:38.919, 17 laps
Free practice 2: P15, 1:39.696, 22 laps
Kimi: “It was an okay day but we still
have work to do on the set-up. The steering was
a small improvement but we are still working in
this area. I feel fine in the car in the hot
conditions, and the race will take place later
in the day so I don’t expect that to be a
problem. I hope we will make some progress
tomorrow as the car is quicker than we’ve shown.
Having an issue with the KERS in the afternoon
was frustrating but I’m sure we’ll have it fixed
for tomorrow. The track is exactly as I remember
it and I hope for a better qualifying than we
had in Australia. I’m looking forward to racing
Romain Grosjean, E20-01
Free practice 1: P5, 1:39.128, 22 laps
Free practice 2: P9,1:39.311, 29 laps
Romain: “Today went pretty well with a
couple of small interruptions to my sessions. In
the morning there was something not quite right
with the rear of the car which was soon sorted,
then in the afternoon I picked up a cut on one
of my tyres. Neither was a major issue. We
looked at dealing with the heat and finding a
good set-up for the high track temperatures here.
This track feels fantastic in a Formula 1 car.
We’re not quite there with the set-up, but we
have plenty of data to work through. I think
we’ve got a good idea of where to go for
James Allison, Technical Director: “In
some ways it was a somewhat scrappy day after
losing a tyre set on Romain’s car in the
afternoon due to a cut which meant he lost some
laps in the second session. He also had an
incorrectly seated wheel nut in the morning.
Kimi’s KERS was not playing ball for most of the
second session which meant his pace was not
fully representative. Those were today’s
nuisances, but the positives are that the E20 is
working reasonably well. We have good base
set-ups for both drivers. Tyre management looks
OK despite the hot conditions. The pace of the
car on high fuel loads looks promising.”
MALAYSIAN GP, SATURDAY 24 MARCH
Kimi Räikkönen set the fifth fastest time whilst
Romain Grosjean was seventh quickest in
qualifying for tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix
at Sepang International Circuit. Kimi will start
from tenth position on the grid for the race
after a penalty for a gearbox change on his car.
This moves Romain up to sixth place.
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-03.
Q: P5*, 1:36.461.
FP3: P4, 1:37.356.
*Plus five place grid penalty.
Kimi: “The car was working well today.
Unfortunately, I made a couple of mistakes on my
fastest lap which probably cost a couple of
tenths. Without that, we were in with a shout
for pole today. I got a little bit sideways at
the exit of turn nine and we lost some time, but
that’s how it goes sometimes. We had some issues
with KERS yesterday, but there was no repeat
today; the car worked exactly as it should and
it felt good. It’s a shame we have a penalty on
the grid but the car works well. Today was
definitely a positive day. Tomorrow we start
from tenth and will try to improve from there.”
Romain Grosjean, E20-01.
Q: P7*, 1:36.461.
FP3: P7 1:36.658.
*Starts from P6.
Romain: “It’s great to have both cars in
Q3, and I’m really pleased to have been part of
the top ten in both of my first two races. The
team has done a great job to get the most out of
the car, and we can be really pleased that we’re
fighting for the top positions. It’s going to be
an interesting race tomorrow, and hopefully we
can move up even further. You never know what
will happen with the weather here, our pace is
not too far off the leaders and it will be a
long race, so anything is possible. In these
conditions managing the tyres is crucial.
Qualifying is one thing, but the race will be a
whole other matter. I’m looking forward to the
race, if we can finish in the top five that
would be great, but the most important thing is
to get my first points of the season."
Alan Permane, Director of Trackside
Operations: “We always want more...”
Two drivers in the top ten. That’s a bit more
“Obviously we’re happy from today’s performance,
but as ever in Formula 1 we always want more.
Kimi felt he made a mistake in a couple of
corners, and with a perfect lap he could have
certainly done better, but overall to have the
fifth and seventh fastest cars in qualifying was
What can we expect from the race tomorrow?
“Looking at all the data, we should expect a
strong race. We have a good handle on the tyres
in these conditions. We have good set-ups which
both drivers feel very happy with. Weather
permitting, we should expect to have both cars
in the points tomorrow.”
We changed Kimi’s gearbox. Are there any
concerns going into the race?
“None at all. We saw high temperatures on Kimi’s
gearbox in Australia after the cooler was
blocked by grass and debris. It completed most
of the race like this. We checked both gearboxes
thoroughly and there were no concerns with
Romain’s gearbox. Kimi has a new ‘box on his car
– for which we receive a five place grid penalty
– but this was necessary.”
Sepang is notorious for its variable weather.
How do you plan a race strategy for this?
“We plan for a dry race and the fastest strategy
possible given our grid positions. We monitor
the weather reports and satellite information as
well as looking at the skies in the build-up to
the race, and we have a plan in case it rains.
It’s almost impossible to make a concrete wet
race strategy in advance as there are so many
variables involved. It’s a time when all of us
on the pit wall really have to earn our salaries
with our strategy calls. It’s a time for cool
heads and calm decisions.”
GRAND PRIX, SUNDAY 25TH MARCH 2012
Kimi Räikkönen led the charge for Lotus F1 Team
in the Malaysian Grand Prix; translating a tenth
place starting slot into a fifth-placed finish
in a rain-affected, red flag-interrupted race.
He also set the fastest lap of the day as the
track dried in the run to the chequered flag. It
was a different story for Romain Grosjean, with
an early exit from the slippery Sepang circuit
on lap four.
Both cars started on the green marked
intermediate tyres. Kimi made three stops with
an intermediate, wet, intermediate, hard tyre
Kimi set a succession of fastest laps on the
hard tyres as the track dried, culminating with
a 1min 40.722secs on lap 53. It was the 36th
Grand Prix fastest lap of his career.
Räikkönen, P5, E20-03
“It was a bit difficult today. It was my first
time on the wet weather Pirellis and I didn’t
know how the intermediate or wet tyres would
react – I had only completed one installation
lap on them before. I just tried to stay on the
road and push as much as I felt comfortable
with. When I changed to the dry tyres it took a
couple of laps to get heat into them, and my
visor was pretty dirty so seeing the dry line
was difficult. Once I found my way I could push
much harder. It was difficult to have another
mixed weather weekend. The conditions changed a
lot today so it was always a case of adapting
and looking for grip. Overall, we seemed to have
a pretty strong package again this weekend, so
I’m relatively happy. A fifth today was okay,
but we’re always looking for better results.”
Romain Grosjean, DNF, E20-01
“It felt like a perfect start off the line; I
got a good jump on the others and with the KERS
I managed to weave through the cars in front
without touching anybody. Coming out of the
first two corners I was up to third, which was
an amazing feeling. In turn four Mark (Webber)
managed to carry a bit more speed through the
corner and edged in front. Michael (Schumacher)
tried to follow him through but there was not
enough space so we touched and I spun. From
there things became really tough. The visibility
was so poor I couldn’t see anything in front of
me. We made the decision to stay out on the
intermediate tyres but the rain got heavier and
there was far too much water. I had massive
aquaplaning into turn five and unfortunately
ended up going backwards into the gravel.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal
"Today’s result is a bit frustrating. Whilst
it’s good to have a car finish in the top five
after starting from tenth in conditions which
were very tricky, we can’t help thinking that we
could have achieved more from this race.
Obviously, it’s disappointing for Romain, as
it’s another DNF for him in the early laps of
the race. He had never driven in the rain with
these intermediate tyres so we have to take that
into account. He had a very good start off the
line, but the contact with Michael ruined his
race. At the restart, we recovered well from our
position and on the plus side, the car looked
strong again. Kimi had a flawless race. He was
very consistent in all conditions and his best
lap shows what could have been without his grid
penalty. I’m sure when we have a ‘standard’
weekend - without bad weather, penalty or
interruption – we will do very well."
James Allison, Technical Director
“What we would give for a normal race! We had to
fight back from a grid penalty for changing the
gearbox on Kimi’s car. We also had two drivers
learning Pirelli’s wet tyres for the first time
today. This made for a difficult time here at
Sepang. Our pace at the end of the race on dry
tyres looks extremely promising from the
perspective of both degradation and pace. Give
us a normal race, with two clean getaways from
the good qualifying positions of which we have
shown we are capable, and I think we’ll be able
to collect a good reward.”
Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team
“Another points scoring finish for Kimi here.
Again it was a shame for Romain but over the
course of the weekend we confirmed the pace seen
in Australia of the Lotus-Renault package. The
changeable weather made it very difficult to
manage fuel consumption. We burned a lot of fuel
at the second start, which allowed us to be
lighter towards the final laps. This played out
well as Kimi set the fastest lap of the race on
lap 53. Overall the engine has worked perfectly
and we’re now looking forward to China, which
presents a very different challenge.”