After their off-track chaos in Australia, the Sauber F1 Team fought back superbly to score points for both drivers, with Felipe Nasr taking an excellent fifth on his Formula 1 debut, while team-mate Marcus Ericsson was eighth.
With the furore with Giedo van der Garde now settled, the team can now focus purely on their racing, and head into this weekends Malaysian Grand Prix high on confidence, and will allow test driver Raffaele Marciello his first opportunity to run a free practice session.
“It will be exciting to drive the Sauber C34-Ferrari for the first time,” said Marciello, part of the Ferrari Driver Academy. “That will also be the same for the Italians, as we have not had an Italian driver in Formula One for quite a few years.
“I will definitely enjoy the experience, and I am really looking forward to it. I am confident I can do a good job as well as supporting the team in order to find a set-up for the car, which suits the track. As the circuit has some fast corners, I think the car’s downforce will be crucial.”
Nasr will be the unfortunate driver to sit out the free practice session at Sepang, but arrives in Malaysia on the back of a confidence-boosting fifth place in Australia, and is confident his Sauber will suit the circuit this weekend.
“After a successful season opener in Melbourne, I think the Malaysian Grand Prix can be one of the races we can look forward to,” said Nasr. “It will be easier for me to approach this race weekend, as I know the track quite well from previous racing series, which was not the case in Melbourne.
“Looking back to our winter tests, I am confident that the layout of the track in Malaysia can suit our car. The track consists of some long straights and fasts corners, so I would expect a bigger tyre degradation.
“On the other hand, it is positive that our car seems to have a decent straight line speed, but I think some more downforce could help us to gain time in the high-speed corners.”
Ericsson was delighted to score his first points in Formula 1 in Australia on his debut for the team, and feels prepared for the tough challenge the Sepang provides with the high temperatures and humidity.
“After the great result in Melbourne, it feels good going to Malaysia,” said Ericsson. “For me it is quite an interesting circuit with many medium and high-speed corners, which are quite demanding for the tyres.
“The Malaysian Grand Prix is one of the toughest on the calendar, because of the high humidity and heat. It means you need to be in good physical shape, and I am sure I am. I am sure I will be one hundred percent ready when I get to Malaysia.
“Another aspect which comes into play is that we often have the risk of heavy rain there, so the races are usually quite exciting. I hope we can build on the progress we have made in Melbourne, and have another good race weekend.”