With temperatures expected to reach the mid 30s, Felipe Massa may have to resort to a trick of soaking his race-suit ahead of the Malaysian GP…
With temperatures expected to reach the mid 30s, Felipe Massa may have to resort to an old trick of soaking his race-suit ahead of Sunday’s Malaysian GP.
April is one of the hottest months at the Sepang circuit, forcing drivers to contend with heat, humidity and thunder storms.
But there are a few tricks to cope with the energy-sapping conditions, although the best is just to be as fit as possible.
“As a driver there is not much you can do to deal with the hot conditions,” said the Ferrari driver.
“But honestly, if you are fit enough there is not much else you need to do.
“I have tried various methods, such as soaking my overalls in cold water before the start.
“Whatever you do, it is going to be a tough race. It’s not just the hot conditions, but the humidity that makes it unpleasant.
“For example, we have raced in Bahrain in an ambient temperature of 40 degrees, but I did not even sweat in the car because in the desert it is a very dry heat.
“In Malaysia the problem is the humidity which makes you suffer more, losing body fluids, which then affects your strength and your concentration.
“No matter how fit you are, you suffer more at this circuit than at others.”
But despite the difficult conditions, Massa is hoping for a better result than P7 he achieved last time out in Australia.
“There will still be a lot of unanswered questions as we start practice, because if you compare Melbourne with Sepang, the difference is as clear as black and white.
“The Melbourne asphalt is not very abrasive, the temperature is cool, the track is more of a city track, even if it is a real race circuit and the corner types are very different.
“Sepang is very hot, it’s a proper race track, with a lot of high speed sections, fast corners and many changes of direction.
“Then from a physical point of view the difference is also obvious: driving Albert Park is very easy and you get out of the car at the end of the race feeling completely fresh, whereas in Malaysia you lose a lot of fluid and lose weight and generally it is much more demanding.
“For all these reasons, I expect to see a completely different performance from our team and from our car.”
Added to that, he’s also determined to avoid last year’s errors.
“Last year, we made a strategic mistake in the wet qualifying at Sepang and I started twenty first on the grid, eventually making it up to seventh at the end of Sunday’s race and we will be working hard to avoid a similar error: like I said, the key in Sepang is to be ready for anything.”