Virgin issues trigger Cosworth modification

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F1 Grand Prix, GP China, Shanghai International Ciruitcn

Marussia Virgin Racing didn't enjoy a great Friday at China, as they were plagued with reliability issues all through the session. Timo Glock's engine blowup as a result of damage incurred at the Australian GP has even triggered Cosworth to adapt their engines to prevent similar problems.

The track at Shanghai was very dusty this morning and the team encountered a few problems throughout the first day of practice for the Chinese Grand Prix

Only five days after the last race in Malaysia, the Marussia Virgin Racing cars were out on track again, this time for the first two practice sessions of the Chinese Grand Prix. With a warmer than usual air temperature of 26°C and track temperature of 30°C, both Timo and Jérôme left the garage straight away to complete their installation laps and radio checks. They both reported the track was very dirty and green, as expected, and so the team kept to the plan to wait until there was more rubber down.

Forty minutes into the first session Jérôme posted his first timed lap of the weekend. Unfortunately, Timo had to wait a bit longer due to a mechanical problem with the rear of his car. He was only able to take to the track in anger with 10 minutes of the session remaining, albeit with the asphalt providing more grip than at the start. Timo was restricted to 11 laps this morning, ending up 22nd on the timing sheet. Jérôme was classified 20th with 20 laps under his belt.

In the afternoon both drivers were out again as the lights turned green. Jérôme was able to use the second ninety-minute session of the day to complete long runs and tyre degradation tests, before switching to the Option tyre for his final run. Unfortunately he was never going to set a representative time as the team were aware that he had picked up floor damage as he went into the run. Nonetheless he was able to achieve 34 laps to gather important data. While Jérôme was out on track, Timo was mostly confined to the garage due to an engine problem, and he was unable to complete his programme or improve on a time set early in the session.

Timo Glock:
“Not a great day. We didn't run much today as we had a lot of technical problems. In the first practice I had a problem on the rear end and couldn't do much. In the second practice I had an engine problem so I only did about twelve laps and I haven’t been able to do any setup work at all, which is extremely frustrating.”

Jérôme D’Ambrosio:
“I'm happy with my performance today, so it’s a shame that some issues let us down and prevented us from improving further. In particular I wasn’t able to get the best out of my Option tyre run. Hopefully with a better run of luck tomorrow we can get back to where we expected to be.”

John Booth, Team Principal:
“Our race weekend here in China did not get off to the most auspicious of starts today and to say our day has been less than straightforward would be something of an understatement. This morning, having waited for the track condition to improve, when we did finally get our timed runs underway Timo experienced a mechanical problem. This afternoon, after just 12 laps, Timo suffered an engine problem which confined him to the garage for the second half of the session, so he was unable to complete a soft tyre run and improve his lap time, which is reflected in his position today. Jérôme had a better afternoon session and was making good progress but immediately prior to his option tyre run we noted heavy floor damage. This wasn’t sufficient to prevent him from running, but it was by no means a representative run. Hopefully we have got all our bad luck out of the way today and tomorrow will provide a better reflection of where we stand here.”

Mark Gallagher, General Manager, Cosworth F1 Business Unit:
“The engine in Timo Glock’s car, Cosworth CA312, suffered a broken valve in FP2 and is therefore withdrawn from service. This valve suffered very minor damage as a result of the engine ingesting a metal fastener from the engine assembly during the Australian Grand Prix weekend, but the unit was subsequently inspected and returned to the team prior to Malaysia as a practice-only engine. The failure is not completely unexpected, therefore, and indeed the engine has completed 352kms since its inspection. FIA-approved modifications have been implemented to all team engines prior to Malaysia, to avoid a repeat of this issue.”