Force India’s Tom McCullough: “The Set-Up Needs To Accommodate A Large Speed Range”


Credit: Sahara Force India F1 Team

Sahara Force India‘s Chief Race Engineer Tom McCullough says conditions for this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix will be similar to the last race in Singapore.

Formula 1 heads over to the Sepang International Circuit for the last Malaysian Grand Prix , as the race will leave the sport after 2017.

Sepang often throws question marks over the weather with hot air and track temperatures and unpredictability of thunderstorms often cause headaches for the teams on the pit wall. McCullough expects the conditions to be unpredictable over the course of the weekend, with heat being the main factor of the weekend.

“Malaysia is another race where the weather will be very hot: last year, we had track temperatures up to 60C. The conditions can be very unpredictable and there’s always a chance of rain showers, in particular during the early evening qualifying session at 5pm.” said McCullough.

“In this regard, the conditions are very similar to what we saw in Singapore, with extreme heat and humidity; the main difference being the start time of the race, with the lights going off in the heat of the day at 3pm.”

Sepang is a track with a mixture of low, medium and high speed corners with long straights for the drivers to tackle for fifty six laps. The circuit often provides high track temperatures which can cause the Pirelli tyres to strain in the heat and can degrade heavily than usual. McCullough believes the main set-up for the car is to acclimatise for the multiple long straights.

“The Sepang track features a good mix of low, medium and very high-speed corners, so the set-up needs to accommodate a large speed range.”

“The track was resurfaced prior to the race last year, which improved ride response and reduced tyre degradation. It will be interesting to see how the track surface has evolved since.”