There aren’t any Malaysian drivers in Formula One, but for several teams, this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix is a home event.
The Caterham squad, run by Tony Fernandes, is entered in the championship under the Malaysian flag. And of course, the factory Mercedes team has primary sponsorship from Malaysian oil giant and race sponsor Petronas.
Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi confirmed in the team’s pre-race release that they’ll be very busy with advance events. He’ll be at a Renault event at Sepang on Tuesday, with Wednesday a heavy day of meeting sponsors and fans at the Pavilion Shopping Centre in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday afternoon from about 2pm.
Later in the day, they’ll head to see AirAsia’s head office on Wednesday afternoon and meet their staff. AirAsia is also run by Fernandes.
As for the race, Kobayashi said there were some promising signs the team took from Australia, but they need to do better this week.
“The second race of the year is Malaysia and it’s our team’s first home race of the year, so it’s going to be a good week!” he said. “I’ve obviously raced there a few times before, and finished in the points in 2011, and this year it would be great if we were able to fight for a point, but we’ll have to make sure we have a better Friday than we did in Australia if we’re going to have a stronger weekend at Sepang.”
Melbourne polesitter Lewis Hamilton, who’s yet to win in Malaysia in seven attempts, also discussed his team’s events and his prospects for the weekend.
“Malaysia is a stunning country and I always enjoy coming here,” he said in Mercedes’ advance release. “The fans are fantastic and it also forms one of three home races for the team alongside Germany and Great Britain. We have some exciting events planned with Petronas during the days building up to the race weekend so it will be a busy week but a lot of fun.
“I finished second on my Formula One debut here in 2007 and have been on the podium at the last two Malaysian Grands Prix but I’ve yet to win here. It would be amazing to stand on the top step at one of our home races and I’m looking forward to bouncing back after a tough weekend in Australia.”
Meanwhile Nico Rosberg has a chance to win back-to-back Grands Prix for the first time in his career, and to do so at the track where he scored his first Mercedes podium (third in 2010) would be a nice accolade.
The team’s goals are summed up best by Mercedes-Benz motorsport head, Toto Wolff.
“We head to Malaysia looking forward to an exciting week: not just at the circuit, but off track as well with Petronas,” he said. “This is the third time we have worked together to bring Formula One to the streets of Kuala Lumpur and it is a great opportunity to bring our Malaysian fans closer to their team. As one of our home races, we are extremely motivated to get a good result here.”