| Below Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón, president of Racing Engineering, looks forward to the special challenges the Sepang circuit will offer.
This weekend the 2012 GP2 Series championship kicks off with its inaugural round in Malaysia. Tell us what are the main differences between the 2011 and 2012 edition, what has changed from last to this year in GP2?
Well, first of all, there are some aerodynamic changes. It should make the racing a bit more exciting, although it has added some extra work for the engineers. Then there are the two tyre choices per weekend which has not only resulted in a lot of additional work, but will need a very fine tuned strategy that will change from track to track. It will also make the racing all the more interesting. Finally, we use the same points system as F1, which should make it easier for fans to follow.
With the first race event taking place in Malaysia, this adds an extra challenge for Racing Engineering as both drivers have never driven on the track before. What does this mean for the work of the team?
This adds not only more work for the team, but also quite a bit of a challenge since it's the first race of the season and both drivers have never been there before. So it's all new along with the tyres and the aerodynamics. So I think the first two races of the season in Malaysia will be anything but boring. It might take us back to the racing we used to see from 2005 until 2007 which was truly fantastic. Another challenge we should not forget is that we have more fly away races than the past, so the logistics and the jet lag add more to the drama of a race weekend.
Apart from the drivers needing to adapt to the new track as soon as possible, what other factors might be determining the weekend?
Rain, lots of it, and not to mention the extreme heat. It will be hottest race we will have ever have had to compete in. So many other factors such as driver hydration and cooling come into play. It's going to be a difficult first couple of races for the drivers, but also the mechanics and engineers.
What are Racing Engineering's expectations for the first race of the season?
To win, that is our only objective and what we have worked very hard all winter for. No reason why either driver cannot succeed at it. But being such a complicated track, let's wait and see what the results will be after the weather and the tires have played all their tricks on us.
12:00-12:30 Practice Session (Spain 5:00)
15:55-16:25 Qualifying (Spain 8:55)
11:00 Race 1 (31 laps/60 min) (Spain 4:00)
13:15 Race 2 (22 laps/45min) (Spain 7:15)