Fernando Alonso – “The Malaysian Grand Prix is always a fun event and among the drivers’ favourites on the calendar. There’s great food, lively fans and good racing so I hope we can put up a strong fight there. I’ve won this race three times before so I have happy memories, and we’ll be aiming to continue the momentum from the past couple of races and get a strong result there again this year.
“I’m looking forward to heading back to Malaysia after 18 months since the last race there. It’ll be interesting to see how the cars cope on the newly-resurfaced track, and I imagine the weather conditions will be different from our last visit. Still, we expect it to be a tough race in the heat and humidity, but there’s a good combination of slow and high-speed corners and fast straights, so it has a little bit of everything. It tests every part of the package, and the driver too, so hopefully there’ll be some close racing and an entertaining weekend for the fans.”
Jenson Button – “We always think of Singapore being tough because it’s the longest race of the year, but Malaysia will almost certainly be the hottest race on the calendar. Not only that, but the humidity is immense and the cockpit reaches very high temperatures. As drivers, we’re all well equipped for these conditions as part of our training, but it does take its toll by the end of the weekend. You definitely need to be in peak physical fitness to cope with the heat. I’m ready and excited to get out there and start my 300th Grand Prix, and hopefully have better luck than I did in Singapore.
“Sepang is becoming a modern classic – although it’s a relatively new circuit, it’s one of those tracks that drivers enjoy going back to. The conditions are like nothing else we experience, the circuit is quite technical and fun to drive, and the atmosphere is always great. Although it’s traditionally seen as a high-speed circuit which isn’t usually something that our package favours, we do have a good car under braking which is necessary to handle the tight corners after the long, fast straights.”
Eric Boullier, Racing Director – “The challenge at this circuit is to maintain good balance throughout the long straights, big stops and sweeping corners, all while taking the tough and often changeable conditions into account. After a recent run of mixed fortunes on one side of the garage, our aim for the remaining races has to be to iron out reliability niggles and finish with both cars.
“Since the inaugural Malaysian Grand Prix at this circuit in 1999, Sepang has become a popular venue for drivers and fans alike. There have been a number of memorable races there and thanks to the climate and the nature of the technical layout, it often produces unpredictable results. There are good overtaking opportunities to be had and ample run-off, which once again promises interesting racing.
“The Sepang circuit poses a tough technical challenge for our mechanics and engineers, who have to strike a delicate compromise between efficient cooling, aerodynamic performance and balance, so Friday running will be important initially in order to assess the impact of the new track surface on the car and the re-profiling of some corners – particularly Turn 15. If we can achieve reliability on both sides of the garage, I’m hopeful for a positive weekend. We’ve proved recently that our package is a firm contender in the midfield pack and we have the potential to finish ahead of some strong teams, so we’ll keep fighting to maintain our position and move closer to the front of the grid.
“Finally, I’d like to congratulate Jenson on his 300th Grand Prix start – a spectacular achievement for a great world champion, and we look forward to celebrating this incredible milestone with him and the team this weekend.”
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer
“The Malaysian Grand Prix will no doubt be another hot and humid battle to be fought amongst the drivers. The changeable conditions mean it will be tricky to find a good balance with the car, and the rain can of course give us an added challenge. The circuit in Sepang is an undulating mix of long straights and sweeping corners, which all make for an exciting race with lots of good overtaking battles. We are not 100 percent certain if we will install any power unit updates for this race, but we’ll look to make our final decision at the track based on the balance of performance and reliability.
“More importantly, this will be a race to celebrate as Jenson makes his 300th Grand Prix start, which is an incredible milestone and achievement in such a demanding sport. We’re lucky to have two world champion drivers in the team with such experience, and hope that we can finish with a strong result for everyone in the team.”