Mixed free practice results for Virgin F1
Getting a grip is what Friday free practice is all about - especially at Albert Park, where the track is always a bit “green”, as they say in race car engineering circles. Roughly interpreted, that means there are too many leaves and not enough rubber!
Earlier this week Timo and Lucas got some much-welcomed R & R to prepare for the serious business of the race weekend ahead. Lucas ‘hung-loose’ at Bell’s Beach with two-time ASP World Champion Damien Hardman.
“It’s good to chill out and clear the mind so we can focus on the racing from now on. I love surfing back home in Brazil - it’s a great way to relax and it’s tough physically, so it’s good preparation for driving the car.”
Timo found an innovative way to recce the track on Wednesday - in a helicopter. Beats walking it (but then he did that as well when he got back).
Today though, all thoughts are back on the racing and the team had a packed programme of set-up and tyre evaluation work as well as checking out what the circuit was up to. Albert Park always throws up a few curve balls and today’s was a 5°C drop in track temperature between the start and end of the morning session alone.
All of the cars and their drivers did an installation lap and then parked up in the garage waiting for the track to come up to temperature so that set-up evaluations could be made in meaningful conditions. Everyone soon got on their way though when the clouds started heading in Albert Park’s direction.
This morning Lucas got a fair few laps under his belt – 25 to be precise and the second highest number of laps of the morning session. Timo on the other hand spent much of the session with his car in the garage after a gearbox oil leak surfaced.
This afternoon was in the lap of the gods. No sooner had Lucas completed two installation laps than rain started to fall. He then had a telemetry box problem which confined him to the garage. Meanwhile the team got on top of Timo’s car problems in enough time to return him to the track by the end of the session.
Another long night lies ahead to ensure that the team can make the most of the available free practice time in the morning to maximise their qualifying performance tomorrow afternoon.
Timo Glock #24: “It has been a tough day for sure. We had a gearbox oil leak this morning – a new problem which arose and we had to spend a lot of the day fixing it. This afternoon I managed to get back out on track at the end of the session but it was frustrating to lose so much track time. I think we will be playing catch-up in the morning so we have to hope things go our way in time for Qualifying.”
Lucas di Grassi #25: “Today was a mix of a very good session in the morning and some problems in the afternoon. In P1 I was just looking to get the first feeling of the track and everything went as planned. This afternoon was a bit more troubled and as soon as we went out we experienced some problems with the telemetry box and I lost the rest of the second session. Not the perfect situation to go into a race weekend at a circuit that is new to me, but we will keep our heads up, fix the problem and go for it tomorrow.”
Nick Wirth, Technical Director: “With Lucas this morning we had a good session. The target was to test the car and give Lucas plenty of acclimatisation laps - which we achieved successfully. This afternoon he had a problem with a gearbox oil line which delayed us at the start of the session. Once he got going again he was further delayed by a failed real-time telemetry sensor, and as it isn’t possible to run the car without it, we had to change it. We tried to get out again before the end of the session, but unfortunately just missed out.
“For Timo the morning was unfortunately dominated by a problem with the gearbox oil system. We managed to solve our issues over the lunch break, but it required a lot of work and caused a delay to the start of his second session. He went out towards the end of the afternoon and was quite happy with the car, considering his lack of running.
“Obviously today was not as smooth as we would have liked but we've made progress since Bahrain so the team will stay focused on the positives.”
Source: Virgin F1 Racing