Changeable track conditions masked F1 teams’ true pace in Melbourne, but the Malaysian Grand Prix will see the 2005 season’s genuine frontrunners establish themselves, says Williams-BMW ace Mark Webber.

Changeable track conditions masked F1 teams’ true pace in Melbourne, but the Malaysian Grand Prix will see the 2005 season’s genuine frontrunners establish themselves, says Williams-BMW ace Mark Webber.


Renault, which saw its cars finish first and third at Albert Park, seemed to have a significant advantage over world champions Ferrari in the opening race of the season. However, Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes drivers were particularly hampered by starting near the rear of the Australian Grand Prix grid – and at a circuit were overtaking is notoriously difficult.


“Malaysia will reveal the true F1 pecking order,” said Webber, who added that “rain during the first flat-out, low-fuel qualifying session in Melbourne veiled every team's ultimate pace”.


"When it rains in Malaysia," the Australian driver warned, "it really rains! But if we get a consistent weekend, we'll get a good idea of where everyone stands."


It was just above 30C in Kuala Lumpur on Monday. Although rain was expected during the mid-week, weather forecasters predicted a scorching, but probably dry, weekend.


Williams-BMW technical director Sam Michael recently said that the Grove-based team was confident it could improve on Webber’s fifth-place result in Australia, this weekend.


"We have some development parts for the FW27 to improve its performance following Melbourne,” he said. “Michelin will bring two tested tyre choices to Malaysia, if they work as well as they did in Melbourne, there will not be any problems with them.


"Heading into Malaysia, we are looking to build on our position in the constructors' championship with a solid result," Michael added.