Virgin Racing’s debut Grand Prix preparations got underway in Bahrain today for the first two practice sessions for Sunday’s 2010 season opener. Another long night of preparation at the Bahrain International Circuit really tested the race team’s mettle as they took to the track for this morning’s session.
With that in mind, the emphasis was on a slow steady start to the long list of set-up and tyre evaluation items that defines the Friday programme.
Once the team were up and running, Lucas was able to get some reasonable running under his belt. He ended the day 21st with a best time of 2:02.188 after 21 laps. Timo on the other hand was confined to the garage for most of the afternoon session due to a gearbox issue. He ended the day 20th after his limited running meant that he was unable to improve on a lap time of 2:02.037.
Timo Glock #24: “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 #25: “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, Technical Director: “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.”