Timo Glock leaves the pits in his Virgin MVR-02 in Melbourne
Virgin Racing are set for two very tough Grands Prix in Malaysia and China over the next fortnight, after it was revealed by team principal John Booth on Friday that no new car updates would appear on the MVR-02 until the Turkish Grand Prix in May. With the 107% qualifying rule back in force for 2011, Virgin face the real possibility of not being on the grid in the next two Grands Prix, with those out in front expected to bring new parts to both races.
Lead driver Timo Glock said last week that he was concerned about the 107% rule, given that team-mate Jérôme d’Ambrosio was only four tenths within the cut-off time in Australia. The high-speed sweeps of the Sepang International Circuit won’t make life any easier on the downforce-deficient MVR-02.
“This round of long-haul races means there are few developments we can bring to the car until the next significant upgrade for Turkey,” said Booth. “Our focus for now is on gathering as much data as possible to plough back into the development cycle to ensure we can go on to make those bigger steps through the season.”
Booth explained that the team had been focusing on getting the reliability of the MVR-02 in check before adding performance, having struggled to get to the finish in the first races of 2010.
“This time last year we were struggling with reliability issues that were preventing us from finishing races. This year we’ve demonstrated that we are on top of that and that is a much better starting point to build upon,” Booth continued.
Both Glock and d’Ambrosio have experienced the Sepang circuit before, with Glock having raced there in F1 the last three years and d’Ambrosio having raced there in the GP2 Asia series in 2009.
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