Malaysia F1: Rain to make Sepang ‘distressing’ image

In a race of four or more pit-stops, according to new tyre suppliers Pirelli, the weather and an ability to conserve tyres could prove decisive. It is expected to be sweltering with high humidity.

“It is always important to be properly hydrated at Sepang,” said Button.

Rain could make this weekend’s Malaysian grand prix both “interesting” and “distressing“, according to McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale.

At present, there is a high chance of rain – as well as the usual hot and humid conditions – for the Sepang event.

In 2009, the race was stopped due to torrential rain, and last year in qualifying a downpour stranded top drivers for McLaren and Ferrari down the grid.

Heavy rain usually features at some point over the weekend – a heavy shower in qualifying caught out McLaren and Ferrari last year and allowed Lotus and Virgin a crack at Q2 last year, but then conditions remained fine for race day.

This time, a new factor is the Pirelli tyres, with the Italian supplier’s wet-weather products yet to be fully tested and understood.

“A high possibility of rain will make it very interesting for all of the spectators and very distressing for all of us teams,” Neale said during a media teleconference.

To EFE news agency, reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa said: “The Malaysia conditions are extreme on all levels, especially the temperature and humidity but also the amount of water on the track in the case of rain.”