Sahara Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg says that it will feel strange to drive in Malaysia later on in the calendar but has admitted that the Sepang International Circuit is one of the toughest of the year.
The race switches to an October date in 2016 after last year being round two in March, but Hulkenberg still feels it’ll be a tough challenge due to the extreme temperatures seen in Malaysia.
“It feels strange to be going to Sepang at the end of the season, but it’s also a nice change to mix up the calendar. It’s one of the hottest events of the year and the temperatures make it quite tough on tyre degradation. The tyres will be important here, managing them throughout the race is crucial and it’s an area we really concentrate on understanding with the engineers.”
Singapore was a huge disappointment for the German driver after he collided with Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr on the opening lap, with Force India having looked strong throughout the weekend but a collision ended Hulkenberg’s hopes of points.
Malaysia has always been a challenging race for the drivers with the humidity and heat but Hulkenberg feels he has become acclimatised to the conditions.
“Coming after Singapore, I hope we will be a bit more acclimatised to the hot weather – it may even feel like a relief after the real oven of Marina Bay! I’d rank these two events as the toughest races of the season from a physical point of view – you really need to be at the peak of your fitness to do well here.”
The unpredictability of the weather in Kuala Lumpur has always spiced up the race and the German driver has taken that into account.
“Most of the races I remember in Malaysia have seen crazy weather conditions, in April, with monsoon rain, red flags and aquaplaning everywhere. I am quite curious to see how it will change now that the race is in October. It’s a track where I have scored some good points and where I had a strong race in 2014, so I hope to go there and create some more special memories.”