A gearbox problem on the formation lap meant that JÃ©rÃ´me D'Ambrosio completed just one lap for Virgin Racing at the Italian Grand Prix today. Team-mate Timo Glock had slightly better luck a brought the car home in fourteenth place – albeit last of the classified finishers.
“A really disappointing end to the weekend,” said D’Ambrosio. “I was really looking forward to the race and then during the formation lap I realised that I had no second gear. I started the race but the car was undriveable, so I had to come back into the garage and retire. It's a real shame because today's race looked like a close one but we just have to move on and get ready for the next race, as the initial signs from the upgrade have been positive.”
Glock suffered problems with his DRS not closing properly in qualifying yesterday, but was today contending with a car that was just plain difficult to drive.
“The race today was okay, even though the car was a bit difficult to drive, which is a little disappointing after yesterday's qualifying,” said the German. “Over the weekend we have definitely seen a step forward. The car felt better, but we have to look at why the car wasn't so good in race trim and see how we can develop the package for Singapore.”
Team principal John Booth drew positives from the fact that Glock could race with at least one Team Lotus driver today and is expecting further improvements at the next grand prix.
“Timo had an absolutely outstanding start and picked his way through the chaos in the first corner to end the lap in 14th position,” recalls Booth. “From this point on, unfortunately we didn't quite have the pace to stay with Heikki [Kovalainen], however Trulli's early stop meant that at least we were racing him. We perhaps could have pitted a little bit earlier on the first stop, but overall we didn't quite have the pace to stay in front. Nonetheless, the very fact that we are back racing with Team Lotus shows the improvement we have made for this weekend.
“With JÃ©rÃ´me, it's very unfortunate that the gearbox failed on the formation lap. We had no indication of any issues up to this point, so we will review this back at our technical base in order to understand how this happened. We have a very busy week ahead, with half of the team moving on to an aero test in Vairano, Italy, on Tuesday and the other half will be back at base to finalise our preparations for the final flyaways.
“The team and the drivers are very much looking forward to heading to Singapore where, if our simulations are correct, this upgrade should yield greater gains.”