Di Grassi won’t get modified VR-01 in Spain

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Timo Glock will be the only Virgin driver to drive the revised VR-01 chassis at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, which features a larger fuel tank.

Team mate Lucas di Grassi will continue to use the original version of the VR-01. The team blamed the delay in getting back from Shanghai due to the ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano for holding up their development programme:

What should have been a useful three-week break in the calendar, and an opportunity to ensure we are fully prepared for the European season, turned into something of a race against time thanks to the fallout from ??The Volcano??. It took up to five days after the Chinese Grand Prix before the entire team were back in England, so we had to rush headlong into preparations for Spain.

The planned modifications to the chassis were always going to be our most significant development, but they were also the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we will bring to Barcelona. As a new team we will be using new trucks and a new motorhome for the first time and on top of that we moved into our new race preparation facility while the team were stranded in China, so we certainly had a lot going on for us when we finally made it home.

Nonetheless, the team have done an admirable job and we?ll be heading to Spain this week full of optimism for the next phase of our debut season.
John Booth

Designer Nick Wirth added:

Since Shanghai, we have conducted an extensive investigation into the failures that halted the obvious progress the team has been making since its debut. That investigation has highlighted a number of issues that are currently being addressed by the race team, Wirth Research and our key suppliers and our continuing aim is to put an end to the reliability issues that have dominated our Grand Prix debut.

Having worked tirelessly to prepare the new car for the race, including its successful re-homologation, it is a bitter pill to swallow that we are unable to complete the second car due to the ??volcanic delays??. Running two fundamentally different specification cars at Barcelona will certainly challenge the team, but as the reliability fixes apply to both specifications, we?ll keep our heads down and focus solely on getting both cars to the chequered flag.
Nick Wirth

Di Grassi admitted he was disappointed by the setback but says he is looking forward to his first F1 race on a track he has driven on before:

We had been getting on top of our reliability problems, so we expect Spain to be a new chapter for us. I was one of the lucky ones after Shanghai – I got out on the Monday after the race and headed to Brazil. I spent some good time with family and friends and worked on my fitness. I will do some work on the simulator this week before heading out to Barcelona.

This is a track I know from racing in other formulae – in particular GP2. It?s a nice challenge for a driver and though I?m disappointed that I will be driving the previous specification chassis, as we didn?t have enough time to modify two cars, I hope with all the work we?ve been doing to make our race weekends go more smoothly we can have a positive European debut.
Lucas di Grassi

Virgin has only achieved one classified finish so far this year and Glock is yet to see the end of a Grand Prix.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Di Grassi won’t get modified VR-01 in Spain”

  1. Shame for the team. You have to wonder if the Volcano is a convenient excuse that the team just couldn’t get it done in time. I feel Lotus is on top of the competition the back markers are in at the moment and pulling away to rival Williams and Sauber.

    That said, if Virgin cure their reliability issues that Nick Wirth discussed they’ll have a lot more time to go fast rather than fix problems.

    1. I think there’s still a long way to go before any of them start “pulling away to rival Williams and Sauber.” That being said, I expect Lotus’ innate reliability to give then the edge in development.

  2. So lets hope Glock will get it to the finish this time. A lack of fuel should not hold him back and hopefully they did get the gearbox/hydraulics/etc. issues sorted out with the updated car.

    Something like a test with the 2 chassis running parallel.

  3. Bet keith just googled the volcano and copied and pasted the name rather than sitting for hours spelling it :P

    Good luck to them. It’s a shame but it’s no like they are fighting for points yet anyway. They just have to do a solid job and keep working their socks off basically.

  4. uh, poor Di Grassi. Imagine sitting in a car you not only know can only deliver you to the end dead last, but also knowing your teamate has a shot.

  5. I doubt he’d feel Glock has a shot. As it stands, his team mate has a shot at effectively finishing and not much more. But yeah, must be quite difficult to be upbeat when you know you are not being treated the same… I’m suprised Virgin are the only one to complain about the volcano.

    1. Particularly when they’re backed by a company which owns an airline.

  6. It was either gonna be the Volcano’s fault… or Nick Clegg’s fault.

  7. It’s a shame for the team, but hopefully giving the new chassi to Timo will spice up the fight at the back of the pack. I’m expecting a huge battle between the revised Lotus T127 and the VR-01 of Glock.

    1. I’m expecting Lotus to put more distance between themselves and Virgin. We’ll see…

    2. I want to see Virgin do well, and HRT for that matter (would like to see Senna & Chandhok do more than prop up the rear), but my real support is behind the Lotus effort. I feel Tony Fernandes, Mike Gascoyne and even Heikki are in the right mindset and they are embracing the fans very well.

      I’m hoping, with this new upgrade, that they will be tickling the rear wings of at least the Saubers in Spain.

  8. “Since Shanghai, we have conducted an extensive investigation into the failures that halted the obvious progress the team has been making since its debut. That investigation has highlighted a number of issues that are currently being addressed by the race team”

    you don’t have to be an expert analizing data to realize, really…

  9. jose arellano
    4th May 2010, 0:31

    what about hispania are they going to let dallara develop their car ?

    1. Your question is answered by Colin Kolles (article featured in 4.4. roundup):

      I’m not going to speak about the work done by Dallara, but we’re no longer cooperating with them. They’ve supplied what we had in Bahrain and from then on we’ve been developing the car by ourselves. We’re currently hiring designers and aerodynamicists to start working on new parts for the car and very soon we’ll announce a deal with a top-notch wind tunnel facility, where we’ll start testing new parts for the F110.

  10. I think considering the mammoth task ahead of this team, Volcano or not they are still doing well, If any of them actually catch a established team it’ll be a miracle.

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