The sun shone strongly and both Virgin Racing cars ran fault-free in today's two Free Practice sessions for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at Monza. In the first session, both Timo and Lucas were able to work through their programme to evaluate a baseline setup for the circuit, where
low drag, and hence low downforce, is key. At the end of the session Timo headed the timesheets for the new teams segment, with Lucas less than two tenths of a second behind him.
In the second session, more detailed work was carried out with extreme levels of downforce and gear ratios, resulting in Timo setting the fastest speed of the session through the traps in the first and second sectors of the track. Both drivers managed to evaluate the Prime and Option tyres, although Timo was only able to use the faster Option tyre for the last two laps of the session. Lucas and Timo finished the session 20th and 21st respectively.
During the day the two drivers completed 92 laps without any problems and collected a full set of data with which the engineers can work to determine an optimum setup for qualifying and the race.
The team will take some time out over the weekend to watch the GP3 action on track, as the final two races of the GP3 Championship take place this weekend, and Virgin Racing has offered a prize of an F1 test for the best driver from its "junior team", Manor Racing. This is the most significant prize in any single junior formula, and with James Jakes and Rio Haryanto equal on points, it looks set to be an exciting conclusion to the GP3 season.
Timo Glock, Race Driver #24
"Not a bad first day. In the first Free Practice session we had a pretty normal programme for Monza, which went well and the car felt quite okay. In Free Practice 2 we made an aero change, which was really low downforce and not the right way to go, so unfortunately we lost some time. In general I'm happy with the day and there were no problems, so I hope the rest of the weekend continues like this."
Lucas di Grassi, Race Driver #25
"A very productive day in which we tested various different setups and parts on the car. I'm very happy with the results we had and we have a clear direction for tomorrow. I hope the weekend goes as smoothly as today."
Mark Herd, Head of Performance & Race Engineering
"We have experienced a very productive day with good mileage on both cars and no major problems. The unique characteristics of the Monza circuit meant that we had a little more work to do than on a normal Friday, however we completed our full planned programme, together with testing a number of new development parts. Both drivers are fairly happy with the progress we have made on the first day of running and our Cosworth engines ran strongly on a circuit that places a great deal of emphasis on power. We look forward to another positive day tomorrow."