British GP: Virgin Racing preview

Virgin Racing VR-01 nose. Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, Wednesday 17 February 2010.

Jul.07 (Grand Prix 247) This weekend (9-11 July), Virgin Racing will be competing on home asphalt for the very first time as the Team prepares for Round 10 of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship – the British Grand Prix – at Silverstone.

As a wholly British-owned team with operational, technical and commercial bases across the UK and backed by a major British-born brand, Virgin Racing is incredibly proud to be making its British Grand Prix debut. The Team will come face to face with some of the most passionate racing devotees in the world, many of whom include Virgin Racing’s loyal and burgeoning following who are camping under the stars with their new favourite team in the grounds of nearby Stowe School as part of the ‘Virgin Racing Weekend’ special events programme.

Round 10 of the Championship marks the midpoint of the season and the introduction of Virgin Racing’s biggest aerodynamic development upgrade of the season so far. Silverstone has always been a high speed track with a lot of fast direction changes and for that reason it is a firm favourite of many F1 drivers. However, the recent revisions to the circuit will level the playing field and every driver goes into the weekend preparing to race on a track that is something of an unknown quantity.

Timo Glock, Race Driver #24
“This will be a very exciting weekend for the whole Team as it’s the first home Grand Prix for Virgin Racing. Not only that, we get to ‘come back’ to Silverstone, a track that is definitely one of the very best on the calendar. Judging by our schedule for the weekend, the Team is certainly celebrating the occasion, with lots of things happening and lots of friends, family and sponsors joining us for the fun. Personally I love racing at Silverstone and I’m looking forward to seeing the changes to the track for myself. It’s hard to believe we’re at the halfway point of the season – the first nine races flew by so quickly. But it’s great that we reach this milestone off the back of a strong weekend in Valencia for myself and Lucas and with the performance developments we had there working straight away on the car. We have our biggest upgrade so far coming this weekend and I hope we will see the same rate of progress from the moment we turn a wheel in Free Practice on Friday. If things work out well I think we can have a stronger second half of the season for sure. So we are optimistic for a good race and I look forward to seeing all the Virgin Racing fans this weekend. We are counting on their support.”

Lucas di Grassi, Race Driver #25
“Despite the fact that I’m Brazilian and Timo is German, it’s impossible not to think of this weekend as a home Grand Prix for us all and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s been a tough year putting the team together and a challenging start to our debut season, so everyone in the Team deserves a good home race this weekend and I hope that we will all get to enjoy it. Both Timo and I have been busy in the simulators this week, getting to grips with the new circuit layout and putting some virtual miles on our car with the new developments. It’s a big step for us – the biggest of the season so far – and it should give us a lot of performance benefit, so I am looking forward to driving the actual car on Friday for the first time. I really rate Silverstone as a track. I’ve only driven in GP2 here but it’s a real racing track and I can’t wait to experience it in an F1 car and with the new changes it’s going to be very exciting. I can’t wait. It’s going to be a busy weekend for sure, but there’s real buzz about the Team and after a great weekend in Valencia I hope that we can carry that through to another positive result.”

John Booth, Team Principal
“We go into our very first home Grand Prix on a real high after a positive performance in Valencia .The British Grand Prix is always a fantastic occasion for UK motor sport, but this year, as a wholly British owned team, we are incredibly proud to be racing on home asphalt. Silverstone is, in my opinion, one of the best circuits that we race at. Not only is it a challenging and exciting track for the drivers, but the crowd are incredible. It’s always a sell-out and although there’s a lot of support for Lewis and Jenson with their battle at the top of the Championship table, we know that there are many fans who have taken Virgin Racing to their hearts and who will really get behind us. It’s also a refreshing change for the team, pretty much all of whom are British. Although they love to travel, this race does give everyone a chance to sleep in their own beds a bit more than is usually the case. All in all, it will be a weekend to remember and with a new upgrade and the momentum of our weekend in Valencia to carry us forward, we hope it will be another opportunity to shine as the best of the new teams.”

Nick Wirth, Technical Director
“Silverstone has always been a fantastic race track and the recent changes to the circuit have made it an even higher speed challenge than it was before. The new section of the track begins with an ultra-fast right-left combination followed by a low speed complex, and ends in a challenging turning and braking section as it blends back into the old track. It certainly looks exciting on our real-time simulators and I really hope the spectators get some more great views of F1 cars on the limit. For us, the focus has been delivering a major step in aero performance to the cars straight from our unique all-digital development process. We’re looking forward to seeing how we progress, as the update represents a significant change to many of the car’s inherent characteristics. The engineers and drivers have been busy on the simulators getting an understanding of what set-up changes will be required to get the best from the package, and now we’re all relishing the challenge of our home Grand Prix.”