Paul Hembery believes the conditions this weekend at the Sepang International Circuit will amongst the toughing for the season due to the high temperatures, humid conditions and the fast corners that put high-energy loads through the tyres.
Pirelli are bringing the three hardest compounds to the Malaysian Grand Prix as a result, although the Pirelli Motorsport Director is wary of the unknown quantity of the newly resurfaced surface this season.
“In terms of extreme conditions that provide a real test for the tyres, Malaysia is right up there with anything else we see all year,” said Hembery. “That’s because of the extremely high temperatures as well as the high energy loadings through the fast corners.
“The big unknown for this year is the track surface, which is completely new. The weather can also change in an instant, turning the track into a monsoon. As a result of all that, Sepang tends to be quite a varied weekend where track evolution is hard to follow.”
Hembery believes the combination of the new track surface and the possible variable weather conditions throughout the weekend can open up different strategy calls on Sunday that could make race day unpredictable.
“We’ve seen a high number of pit stops in the past and we would probably expect multiple stops from most drivers again this year,” said Hembery. “This of course opens up an even wider array of variables when it comes to potential race strategies, now that teams have three compounds to choose from.”