Virgin: We feel positive for this weekend
24 June, 2011
Jun.24 (Virgin Racing) After crossing the Pond to Canada, the Formula One Championship headed back to Europe this week for the second of two Grands Prix to be held in Spain. Action for the European Grand Prix weekend got underway today at the Valencia Street Circuit with the first two sessions of Free Practice for Sunday’s race.
The street circuit is not used between Grands Prix, and the location of the track in a partially industrial area of the city inevitably means there is a lot of dust on the circuit at the beginning of a race weekend. Although conditions were dry and warm, there was little grip early in the session, so Timo Glock and Jérôme D’Ambrosio concentrated on gathering aero data during the initial short runs. Afterwards the team worked on car balance making several planned set-up changes throughout the session.
Pirelli have brought the Medium specification P-Zero tyre as Prime and the Soft specification as Option, and the team took the opportunity to use both types of rubber in the second session, with Jerome looking at tyre degradation and Timo evaluating set-up options. As expected the track improved throughout the day and at the end of the second session Timo was classified 21st with Jérôme 22nd.
The weather was warm and sunny with an air temperature of 26 °C and a track temperature of 36°C,.
“It has been quite a busy Friday, especially this afternoon. We went through the normal programme and everything feels fine so far. The tyres feel a bit different but the rest is okay. I think we got a lot of good data out of some aero runs we did this morning, and that will hopefully give us a good direction for the future. So far, so good.”
“I think it was a good day today. We ran very smoothly through the programme which was great. We focused on the long runs in the second session and gathered some good data for the race. I’m looking forward to continuing tomorrow, as we have arrived at a good basis today.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“Overall we’re pleased with how both practice sessions went today. In general we seem in a slightly better position than in Canada – perhaps more like where we were in Monaco –so we are feeling positive for the rest of the weekend. In the absence of any in-season testing, Fridays are now more important than ever and we spent the first part of P1 collecting some valuable aero data on the rear wing which will help us make better set-up decisions in the future. This afternoon, despite Jérôme running the Option tyre fairly early on, he had a good lap and progressed well through his programme, gathering the tyre data which, as ever, will be vital for Sunday. With Timo we focused more on set-up, in particular trying some different exhaust options. We will study the data tonight and use it to optimise the set-up on both cars for tomorrow.”