Both Virgin drivers finally get to race revised chassis

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Turkey, Istanbul Parktr

The Turkish Grand Prix takes place in Istanbul this weekend at the 5.338km (3.317 mile) Istanbul Park Circuit. The Hermann Tilke designed facility is located on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, the transverse channel that links the Mediterranean with the Black Sea, about 50 kilometres from the city.

Istanbul Park hosted its first F1 race in 2005 and the undulating topography upon which the track was built has helped to create one of the most technically interesting racetracks in the world. It is also one of the most physical for the drivers, thanks to its 14 challenging turns and anti-clockwise layout - considered a benchmark test of both car and driver. The multi-apex turn 8 is now recognised as one of the sport’s toughest corners. Istanbul Park is also very fast, with two long straights that see the cars reach speeds of over 330 km/h, while the mix of fast and slow corners provide a number of overtaking opportunities.

Timo Glock says, “The race in Monaco was disappointing for myself and the whole team, so I’m hoping we can get back to the more positive experience we all enjoyed before it in Spain. I really like the Istanbul Park Circuit. It’s a track that really tests you as a driver. There are a lot of talking points around the circuit but the one that gets every driver excited here is turn 8, the triple apex, which is a lot of fun. The cars and drivers pull up to 5G for seven seconds through this left-hander, making it one of the most physical racing corners in the world. One of the other key parts of the track is the slow left-right-left at the end of the lap that leads the cars back into the pits. At the braking point the cars slow from around 300 km/h (186mph) down to 80 km/h (50mph), which makes it the best overtaking point on the lap. All in all, one of my favourite tracks and I’m looking forward to racing there.”

Lucas di Grassi says, “I’m really looking forward to racing in Turkey with the revised chassis and the new updates. It has been difficult over the past two races because your best benchmark is always your own team-mate in the same equipment and I haven’t been able to make that comparison. It has also been difficult for the team running two different cars. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Simulators since Monaco to prepare myself for running with the new car and for the challenge of the Istanbul Park Circuit. I’ve raced here twice before in GP2 and I won both times, so I really like the track. Although we left Monaco empty-handed, we know what we can achieve when things go well. A lot of work has been done back in Bicester and Dinnington over the past week, so I hope we all get to see some reward for those efforts.”

John Booth, Team Principal adds, “The past week since Monaco presented yet another logistical challenge for Virgin Racing. While two of our trucks, our equipment and motorhome were dispatched directly to Istanbul after the last race, one truck returned to Dinnington with Lucas’ chassis VR-01: 01 so that we could carry out the modifications to his car. Finally, with effect from Turkey, we will be operating and racing two identical cars, which is one of our biggest headaches alleviated. When viewed across the whole of the race weekend, both the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix were two very productive events for us. Unfortunately, the outcome of the two races couldn’t have been more different, our first two-car finish in stark contrast to the bitter blow of two DNFs in Monaco. So we head to Turkey determined to rediscover our Barcelona form and the objective once again is to get both cars to the chequered flag.”

Nick Wirth, Technical Director comments, “The Turkish Grand Prix will be the first time since Shanghai that we have been able to get both drivers into the revised car, and all of the engineering staff are looking forward to using data from both running programmes to get the car dialed in to this tremendous track. Watching some of F1’s top teams struggle through the famous and bumpy Turn 8 last year certainly inspired some of the development direction of the VR-01, and we’re looking forward to the challenge that this track represents. We’ve addressed the issues which prevented us finishing Monaco plus we’ve brought further revisions to both the aero and mechanical package of the cars, so we are keen to see what we can achieve this weekend.”

Source: Virgin F1