Making the finish in Melbourne could be a doddle compared to finishing in Malaysia, according to Mercedes Chairman Niki Lauda.

As the new V6 engines enjoyed a rather cool and cloudy start in Australia last weekend, that will be a far cry from the heat and humidity of Sepang.

“New GP, new problems,” Austrian legend Lauda told Osterreich newspaper.

Indeed in Malaysia the word on the forefront of everyone’s mind will be cooling. The tropical climate will provide a test not even Bahrain could match in preseason testing,so keeping the new units within optimum operating temperatures will be very tricky.

“Malaysia will be more difficult (than Melbourne),” Lauda said.

“In Sepang actually we are starting from scratch because of the high humidity and temperature — I doubt it will be below 35C.

“In such circumstances, effective cooling of the power unit would indeed be a problem. We will have to make changes to the car to resolve the issue.”

Particularly concerned will be the four Renault powered teams and in particular Red Bull and Lotus, who were having to cut holes in their cars just to give the V6 unit some breathing room.

Fellow Mercedes executive Toto Wolff added: ”I think all the teams are seeking to create the most efficient cooling system.

“Every test or race weekend has been more difficult than we expected, so it will be difficult to cope with the heat in Malaysia,” he admitted.

Of course with the heat of the tropical climate may also come the monsoonal downpours that have become such a feature of this race in recent years. Though the cars coped well with the wet qualifying in Melbourne such is the amount of rain that can fall in a short period of time that ensuring everything is as watertight as possible will be another priority.

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