Free Practice for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix got off to an interesting start at the Shanghai International Circuit today after the circuit’s lumps and bumps caused all kinds of frustrations for the teams. Virgin Racing enjoyed another positive start to its racing weekend. Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi ticked all the boxes on their planned programmes to complete a combined total of 101 laps.
The optimum set-up proved to be a constantly moving target, with the task made all the more challenging by the very bumpy track, particularly turn 1, which appeared to cause a few issues for a number of teams.
This morning Timo and Lucas ended the session 20th and 21st after posting 19 and 27 laps respectively. This afternoon, they were 20th and 22nd on the timesheets having notched up a further 27 laps and 28 laps.
Timo Glock #24 “We made some good progress over the course of the two sessions and generally we have managed to improve the car quite a lot through the day. The characteristics of this track are proving a little difficult for us. There are more low speed corners and we seemed to struggle with these a little bit, but it might just be the grip level. We now need to look at everything we have learned today and make sure we choose the right direction. There’s a lot of data to go through tonight but I’m optimistic that we can have a good weekend from here. I’m looking forward to the rest of it.”
Lucas di Grassi #25
“We had a very good day today, completing 55 laps - almost a race distance. That was our main objective today - to get through our programme and identify any potential issues. Everything is looking good so far and there is still a lot of performance we can bring to the car. I hope we can just get better and better tomorrow and in the race and ensure we finish the weekend as the best of the new teams once again.”
Nick Wirth, Technical Director
“We’ve had a positive but eventful day today. Shanghai is the first circuit we’ve come to where we’ve had less than perfect track data for our Simulators and along with some of the other teams we were caught out by the huge bump going into turn 1. We had been a bit brave on our initial front ride height, which resulted in Timo’s front wing hitting the ground hard, necessitating a wing change. However, once we’d allowed for this bump in the set-up, the rest of the day was trouble-free, and our improving reliability allowed us to try a range of tests that we haven’t previously been able to do. The circuit is extremely bumpy and we’ve explored different ways to cope with this using the tools on the car that we have available right now. Tonight we have a lot of data that we can analyse, and I’m sure we’ll make more progress tomorrow.”