Virgin Racing finally have two cars that can hold enough fuel for an entire race distance, and they now head to Turkey, and a track which both of their drivers enjoy.
Timo Glock managed only 22 laps of the Monaco Grand Prix and is now focusing his attention on one of his favourite tracks: Istanbul Park. “The race in Monaco was disappointing for myself and the whole team,” says Glock, “so I'm hoping we can get back to the more positive experience we all enjoyed before it in Spain.
“I really like the Istanbul Park Circuit. It's a track that really tests you as a driver. There are a lot of talking points around the circuit but the one that gets every driver excited here is turn 8, the triple apex, which is a lot of fun.
“The cars and drivers pull up to 5G for seven seconds through this left-hander, making it one of the most physical racing corners in the world.
“One of the other key parts of the track is the slow left-right-left at the end of the lap that leads the cars back into the pits. At the braking point the cars slow from around 300 km/h (186mph) down to 80 km/h (50mph), which makes it the best overtaking point on the lap. All in all, one of my favourite tracks and I'm looking forward to racing there.”
Lucas di Grassi had a 100% record here in GP2, and is pleased he will be starting the Turkish Grand Prix with enough fuel to get him to the checkered flag. “I'm really looking forward to racing in Turkey with the revised chassis and the new updates,” explains the Brazilian.
“It has been difficult over the past two races because your best benchmark is always your own team-mate in the same equipment and I haven't been able to make that comparison. It has also been difficult for the team running two different cars.
“I've spent a lot of time in the Simulators since Monaco to prepare myself for running with the new car and for the challenge of the Istanbul Park Circuit. I've raced here twice before in GP2 and I won both times, so I really like the track.
“Although we left Monaco empty-handed, we know what we can achieve when things go well. A lot of work has been done back in Bicester and Dinnington over the past week, so I hope we all get to see some reward for those efforts.”
Virgin team principal John Booth is hoping the team can put the disappointment of Monaco behind them and replicate the result they achieved in Barcelona – getting both cars to the end of the grand prix. “While two of our trucks, our equipment and motorhome were dispatched directly to Istanbul after the last race, one truck returned to Dinnington with Lucas' chassis VR-01: 01 so that we could carry out the modifications to his car.
“Finally, with effect from Turkey, we will be operating and racing two identical cars, which is one of our biggest headaches alleviated.
“When viewed across the whole of the race weekend, both the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix were two very productive events for us. Unfortunately, the outcome of the two races couldn't have been more different, our first two-car finish in stark contrast to the bitter blow of two DNFs in Monaco.
“We head to Turkey determined to rediscover our Barcelona form and the objective once again is to get both cars to the chequered flag.”
Technical Director Nick Wirth is looking forward to the challenges provided by the Istanbul Park circuit, particularly the infamous Turn 8: “The Turkish Grand Prix will be the first time since Shanghai that we have been able to get both drivers into the revised car, and all of the engineering staff are looking forward to using data from both running programmes to get the car dialed in to this tremendous track.
“Watching some of F1's top teams struggle through the famous and bumpy Turn 8 last year certainly inspired some of the development direction of the VR-01, and we're looking forward to the challenge that this track represents.
“We've addressed the issues which prevented us finishing Monaco plus we've brought further revisions to both the aero and mechanical package of the cars, so we are keen to see what we can achieve this weekend.”