After a promising start to the Chinese Grand Prix weekend, unfortunately Virgin Racing experienced problems with both cars in the countdown to the Race start. The final hours leading up to the Race revealed a problem with the clutch on Lucas’ car when it was started following release from Parc Ferme.
Despite the strenuous efforts of his crew, Lucas was unable to make it to the Grid and the team began to prepare for a Pit Lane start for his car. However, the replacement clutch was not functioning correctly and the Race began without him. Still determined to be part of it in order to gather vital data for the development programme, the team pressed on in the garage and Lucas finally joined the action on Lap 7. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before the clutch problem called time on his race, just 8 laps later.
Everything was running smoothly for Timo until the final stages of the Grid procedure. His car suddenly lost engine valve system air pressure and the team returned the car to the garage to try to fix the problem. It soon became apparent that the issue lay deep in the system and any attempt at addressing it would have called for the entire back end of the car to be removed - a task too substantial to contemplate during the Race. This was a chassis-related issue, and not a problem with the Cosworth engine.
Both Virgin Racing cars ran faultlessly throughout all three Free Practice sessions and Qualifying, which is what makes today’s problems as surprising as they are frustrating.
Timo Glock #24
“A very difficult day for myself and the whole team. Everything was going well until late into the Grid procedure, so the problem came out of the blue and there was nothing we could do to make the start. It proved to be a great Race - one that we would obviously have wanted to be part of. At times like this, when things are so disappointing, you just have to make use of the frustration and get something good from it. I know everyone will want to get to the bottom of what happened for us and fix it and I think that process will ensure that we have a much better start to the European season.”
Lucas di Grassi #25
“This is obviously not a great way to end our weekend and that is very frustrating because we had two very good days of running on Friday and Saturday. I know we will work hard to identify the problems, fix them and get back to the kind of performance we experienced in Malaysia because we have what it takes to continue to be the best of the new teams.”
Nick Wirth, Technical Director
“Following the overnight Parc Ferme, we started the cars this morning and discovered that the clutch on Lucas’ car was not functioning correctly. We changed the clutch before the Race, but it still wasn’t working properly even when we eventually got Lucas out and into the Race and ultimately we had to retire him. Timo’s car lost engine valve system air pressure on the Grid, which required us to move him back to the garage. We attempted to refill the air system but it was clear that there was a substantial air leak from the system in a place which was difficult to access quickly, so we were also forced to retire his car. All in all, a very disappointing day, but I know that we will get to grips with the problems and bounce back in Barcelona.”