You can’t get away from the heat at Sepang. As soon as you venture outside the air conditioning, the humidity tries to suck the life out of you, and nowhere does that apply more than inside the cars.
“It was 68 degrees in the cockpit of my Ferrari today,” says Fernando Alonso. “You have to sit in that heat, in overalls and a helmet, to appreciate what it feels like. It’s very tough.” For the imperialists among you, that’s 155 degrees Fahrenheit; it’s hardly a laughing matter.
“This is the toughest race of the year,” says Jenson Button. “Ironically, it’s toughest when you’re sat motionless in the garage. In those circumstances, it’s so hot that it’s hard to breath.”
It was also very hot down at Lotus-Renault last night when a fire savaged its hospitality unit. Lap-tops, clothing, catering equipment and even one of Kimi Raikkonen’s helmets perished in the blaze. No-one was around at the time, at 3.30am, because the team had already returned to its hotel, but it wasn’t hard to identify the cause of the fire.
It was started by a malfunctioning fridge, which the team had asked a circuit engineer to check earlier in the day after it had repeatedly tripped their fuse box. To add salt to their wounds, the team was charged $900 by the circuit to rent the fridge for the weekend…
It’s at moments like these that the F1 paddock rallies around its victims. Rival teams clubbed together to feed Lotus’s mechanics and engineers today, while the PR and marketing team decamped to the media centre using borrowed lap-tops.
Other teams didn’t get away Scot-free either. MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS, in the adjacent hospitality unit, had to vacate their building this morning due to smoke damage.
Amid all of this chaos came news that British boxer David Haye is attending this weekend’s race. At least Dereck Chisora, whom he wrestled to the ground in a recent post-fight press conference in Munich, isn’t on the invite list…