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Dublin: -1°C Thursday 6 May 2021
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Alonso tipping tough weekend in Malaysia

The Spaniard finished fifth in Australia on Sunday, but his car lacked the pace both McLaren and Red Bull showed.

Image: AFP

FERRARI’S FERNANDO ALONSO believes he will again be forced to drive on the ‘defensive’ at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard finished fifth in Australia on Sunday, but his car lacked the pace both McLaren and Red Bull showed. Ferrari have endured a troubled pre-season, and with just a week between the first two races of the season, Alonso said he expected few improvements at the Sepang International Circuit.

“In Malaysia, we will once again be racing on the defensive,” Alonso said today.

“There’s no other way we can go about it, given that the F2012 is practically identical to what we ran in Australia. We will have to try and adapt it as well as possible, knowing it won’t be easy.

“There are two points we will have to work on with great attention – finding the right compromise in terms of the aerodynamic balance and the tyre degradation.

“Sepang has two real straights where, because they are very long, a lack of top speed carries a higher price than in Melbourne, where the two straights on which you could use DRS were reasonably short.”

Thunderstorms are forecast for Kuala Lumpur, with rain likely to play a part on both Saturday and Sunday. Alonso said he had little faith in the forecast, and added it was important his team were able to respond quickly to changing conditions.

“At the moment, the forecast is for a high chance of rain, both for qualifying and the race, but honestly, I don’t have much faith in the forecast,” Alonso said.  ”The important thing is to react promptly and grab every opportunity. The only thing you can be absolutely certain of is that it will be hot – very hot.”

Meanwhile, Alonso’s team-mate Felipe Massa, who retired at Albert Park, will be given a new chassis for the race in Malaysia. The Brazilian will change to chassis number 294, replacing the number 293 he raced with in Australia.

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