It was a race in which Virgin Racing defied all the odds after a new engine issue surfaced on Lucas’ car - this time with the engine oil system - with just an hour to spare before the race. The turnaround, including removing the engine from the back of the car, was an incredible feat of teamwork, delivering Lucas out on track from the pit lane seconds after the lights went green.
Timo lost a place on the opening lap to Senna following a poor start which compromised the early part of his race. He retook the position and his race was running relatively smoothly car until he experienced low hydraulic pressure with just five laps to spare. This should have put an end to his race, but he battled on with just 5th gear at his disposal and a complete loss of hydraulic pressure, to cement a well-deserved two-car finish. Timo and Lucas ended the race in 18th and 19th positions respectively.
Timo Glock: “It was a tough race for the team today so it was great for us to get both cars to the chequered flag and take some reward for all the hard work that has gone into this weekend. The start was disappointing for me because we stalled on the grid, which enabled Senna to pass me. I was stuck behind him for the first 18 laps and just couldn’t get close enough to overtake him but then I got him in turn 12. From that point on I could go quite a bit quicker and had a better race. We had a good pitstop and on the option tyre the car felt okay and we had reasonable speed. Unfortunately, five laps from the end, I felt a drop in the power steering assist and the team advised me to stay in fifth gear in order to finish the race. But it’s good that we managed to keep the car going and end the day as the best new team.”
Lucas di Grassi: “We have had a lot of problems during this weekend, especially regarding the engine, but we achieved our target of getting both cars to the finish and ending the weekend as the best of the new teams. We demonstrated once again that our reliability is improving and what we need to do now is focus on improving the car so that we can be faster and consistently be the best new team at every race.”
John Booth, Team Principal: “To finish the race with both cars and as the best of the new teams is a fantastic reward for the whole team, who’ve worked incredibly hard all weekend to contend with the various issues that cropped up. After the power loss issue with the engine yesterday, the very last thing we needed just an hour before the race was an issue with the engine oil system, which had us taking the car to pieces to get to the engine when we would have been in the final throes of our race countdown. On one side of the garage we were calmly executing the grid sequence with Timo, but it was quite a different story on the other side of the garage where the guys were faced with the seemingly impossible odds to get Lucas’ car together and out into the race. They were an absolute credit to us today.”
Nick Wirth, Technical Director: “A great reward for the team today after a very stressful pre-race build-up on Lucas’ car. We had been forced to change Lucas’ engine last night after he experienced a large power loss on Saturday that severely compromised his qualifying, and with the Parc Ferme rules, it was only today that we could test the new engine, which exhibited a last-minute oil-system issue.
“Timo’s race started badly with an anti-stall on the start, which ultimately compromised his race until he got some clean air at about one third distance. Once things settled down, he started setting some lap times that confirm our general progress - his fastest lap time was only 2.3 seconds slower than the race winner’s best lap and comfortably faster than any of the other new teams. Sadly, he experienced a drop in hydraulic pressure near the end, but as we were so far ahead of any of our direct rivals by then, we played it safe and asked him to stay in 5th gear for the last few laps.
“Both drivers did a good job in challenging circumstances, as did the whole team, and to get our second 2-car finish of the year is a great feeling, as the more reliability we get, the more performance we can add in the forthcoming races.”
Mark Gallagher, General Manager, Cosworth Formula 1 Business Unit: “We will examine the oil system issue that occurred just over one hour before the race. It was an anomaly and required the team and Cosworth track support crew to undertake a significant amount of work to get the car out into the race. Fortunately our technicians were able to tackle the problem and worked alongside the Virgin Racing mechanics who did a magnificent job in re-assembling the car in time to join the race seconds after the start.”Source: Virgin F1