Monaco GP: Virgin Racing preview

Virgin Racing VR-01 front nose cone and wing detail. Formula One Testing, Day Three, Jerez, Spain, Friday 12 February 2010.

May.12 ( In one of the fastest turnarounds in the sport’s history, Formula 1 left Barcelona on Sunday evening to prepare to go racing on the streets of Monte Carlo just seven days later.

It isn’t the first time there has been just a week between races, but in Monaco the first day of running takes place on Thursday rather than Friday, so the teams have had just three days to make the 500km journey from Barcelona to Monaco and erect their garage environment and motor home structures.

The Virgin Racing team have been buoyed by a positive showing in Spain, where both cars took the chequered flag in the race.

Whilst savouring Monaco’s mouth watering mix of adrenaline and spectacle for the very first time, Virgin Racing is hoping for an equally rewarding race this weekend, counting on the experience that both drivers have had here in Formula 1 and GP2 Series respectively.

Timo Glock, Race Driver #24
“The double finish in Spain was a nice reward for all the hard work by the team and we hope that was a turning point for us. As we overcome our reliability issues we need to turn our focus to bringing more performance to the car, so there’s still quite a road ahead for us. Nevertheless, we are all looking forward to the team’s first Monaco Grand Prix this weekend. It’s a fantastic race from every point of view and a very busy weekend on and off the track. It is always special to return here and the thrill of racing here never seems to diminish because it’s such a challenging track to drive and there’s a lot of spectacle to go with it, not to mention a lot of promotional activities as well. I think it will be an interesting weekend because it is not often that we see the kind of weather we are expecting here, rainy and overcast rather than the usual high ambient and track temperatures. I’m looking forward to it.”

Lucas di Grassi, Race Driver #25
“I’m really looking forward to the team’s first Monaco Grand Prix and my own F1 debut here at this incredible and historic racetrack. I really enjoyed racing here in previous years in the support categories but this year, driving here will be very special. Obviously I will still not have the second revised VR-01 until Turkey, so it will be another case of doing the best possible job and ensuring that we perform as the best of the new teams. I was pleased with my performance in Spain so I’m optimistic that we can have a good race here. It’s an incredible track to drive because of the close racing and also the close fencing! As a driver you have to be fast but you can’t afford to make any mistakes, it’s easy to get into big trouble here as even the best drivers have shown in the past. I am also intrigued to see what the weather will bring because it’s not looking good for the weekend.”

John Booth, Team Principal
“It’s been a race against time to get from Spain to Monaco and to put in place the garage and motor home environments that we rely on during a European race weekend. The team has done a fantastic job with very little time, no doubt spurred on by a successful weekend in Spain, which we hope to replicate this time out. It looks like it could be a challenging weekend for all of us. This is a track that is important to master at the best of times, but it’s very rare that the weather plays such a hand in the race in the way that we expect it might this weekend. With this in mind, it’s good to have two drivers with such experience of the challenges this track presents.”

Nick Wirth, Technical Director
“Monaco represents an interesting technical challenge, which the Virgin Racing drivers and many of the engineering team are quite familiar with. A car with stable aerodynamic characteristics, high downforce coupled with good ride is typically fast here. As usual, we’ve done our homework back on the Wirth Research simulators in preparation for this fantastic event, and for the last time we will be running two different cars until Lucas gets his new VR-01 in Istanbul. We anticipated, and observed, quite a difference in the aero characteristics of the two different cars in Barcelona and this will be amplified again as we bring some more aero parts to Monaco, some arriving so late that they will only be running from Saturday. As we gain more experience with our unique digital development process, it looks like our forthcoming developments will start to lift the cars’ performance both here and at future events.”