Virgin Racing began life in Formula 1 with a tricky day of preparations for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
The team worked long into the night preparing the cars for their first Friday practice sessions, but the day was still hampered by technical problems. Their rookie driver Lucas di Grassi did manage to get some reasonable running during the afternoon session, but Timo Glock was stuck in the garage with a gearbox issue.
Glock was frustrated by the way his weekend has started, but believes the car will be good once the team have ironed out the reliability problems. “Today hasn't been the start to the weekend that we hoped for. We always knew it was going to be tough but we've had too many technical problems which have prevented me getting track time today. We already had two tough nights but we have another one ahead, I'm afraid, to get us to a point where we can feel confident going into the rest of the weekend.
“On the positive side, if we can get on top of the issues we have we'll be in an okay place because with the brief amount of running I have had, I can see that the car isn't bad. I hope we can be ready to get some proper work done tomorrow.”
Lucas di Grassi seemed disappointed by the pace of his car, but was pleased to get some decent running in the afternoon session. “Although a tough day, we actually had a good session this afternoon and got through a lot of things. For me everything is new. I wasn't able to run this morning so the afternoon laps were key to my performance and helping us get started this weekend. The mechanics did a great job running the car and everything seems fine so far. Now we just need to work on car performance, which we clearly haven't been able to optimise at the moment.”
Nick Wirth, the team’s technical director, summarised the problems Virgin had today. “Due to the late arrival of some key new components, we had to work all through last night to have the cars running today, which is not ideal. Thankfully, we haven't had a reoccurrence of any of the problems that blighted our winter testing. However, we found some interesting new challenges today, ranging from some engine set-up issues which caused handling problems, to the high ambient conditions bizarrely causing off-car electronics to overheat, affecting our ability to communicate with the car. In addition, we had a small gearbox issue on Timo's car that hampered his running. Having said that, neither car ran low fuel and Timo was unable to test the super-soft tyre. We'll do a thorough race preparation tonight and focus our attention on qualifying tomorrow.”