Jerome d'Ambrosio, Virgin, Melbourne, 2011

Virgin narrowly qualify and race at the back

2011 Australian GP team review

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Virgin only narrowly managed to get both cars into the first race of the year.

Jerome d’Ambrosio was the last qualifier, 0.4s inside the 107% time.

However Glock was quite close to the pace of the Lotuses in the race.

Timo Glock Jerome d’Ambrosio
Qualifying position 21 22
Qualifying time comparison (Q1) 1’29.858 (-0.964) 1’30.822
Race position 14
Laps 49/58 54/58
Pit stops 2 2

Virgin drivers race lap times:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58
Timo Glock 114.969 100.099 98.38 98.143 97.637 97.671 98.683 97.14 96.812 97.153 96.606 96.793 97.13 96.727 96.494 96.968 96.568 116.357 708.17 115.21 99.26 98.574 96.627 96.5 97.361 96.198 95.979 95.801 98.131 105.904 100.068 100.024 100.015 97.695 97.418 98.248 96.858 96.109 98.121 96.515 98.874 96.731 101.455 101.096 97.732 96.265 99.855 95.789 99.724
Jerome dAmbrosio 114.641 99.961 98.516 98.055 97.682 97.701 98.016 98.789 97.764 97.942 97.731 98.561 104.068 120.421 108.305 102.319 100.951 97.419 97.67 98.628 101.479 99.227 97.839 97.968 99.762 98.298 98.654 97.66 97.263 98.616 97.611 97.496 99.417 100.258 98.446 97.88 99.22 121.916 108.099 96.663 96.539 95.432 96.646 94.523 97.918 94.817 94.667 98.582 95.174 94.956 96.488 95.224 96.107 98.533

Timo Glock

After failing to lap within 107% of the fastest time in both of Friday’s session, Glock voiced his concern the team might not qualify at all.

The team made progress overnight and Glock eventually qualified within 0.6 seconds of Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus. Glock said afterwards: “fighting for a time within 107% of the leaders is not what we?re here for”.

Glock kept up with Jarno Trulli in the race until a wheel problem in his pit stop caused a long stay in the pits. He rejoined the track

Jerome d'Ambrosio, Virgin, Melbourne, 2011
Jerome d'Ambrosio, Virgin, Melbourne, 2011

Jerome d’Ambrosio

Narrowly qualified for his F1 debut, but only lost around five seconds to Glock over the first 12 laps before his team mate hit trouble. He brought the car home:

“I?m really happy to have finished my first Formula One Grand Prix. I started really well and I felt comfortable in the car, even though I think that I could have gone a bit faster at the end of the race.

“But the most important thing is that we completed the race and this will give me plenty of experience which will be useful for the next races.”

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Keith Collantine
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16 comments on “Virgin narrowly qualify and race at the back”

  1. Virgin were odd this weekend. It was all doom and gloom, with dark predictions of being unable to qualify, and then they made the grid and they went into radio silence. Glock was two-tenths inside 107% of Vettel’s FP3 time, but then he made it onto the grid by over a second. Something clearly changed in there, but they acted as if nothing out of the ordinary happened.

    I suspect most of it had to do with the program they ran across the weekend. I doubt they did a qualifying simulation, but everyone just took it for granted that they did.

    1. That’s because the Virgins ran on maximum torque and power in Q1, while Red Bull were perhaps about a second off their ultimate pace at that time.

      1. Yeah, imagine how far off the 107% the back markers would be if the top teams pushed in Q1!

    2. I think Virgin surprised themselves, hence they were dumbfounded when they found themselves in the race after all. Hopefully the news will become more positive as the season unfolds.

    3. I think I saw some tweets or radio messages saying they did something on the rear suspension and the ride height at the end of FP3 after Glock complained about not being able to find more time.

  2. I was glad that D’Ambrosio managed to keep himself out of trouble and he has every right to be a proud man. I wasn’t expecting them to put up any competition to anyone, including Lotus.

    1. I think he can be satisfied by his debut. No bloopers or stupid moves. And the car kept together, altogether a fine start for him.

      Glock was seeing a bit much of the pit and tyre changes. Afterwards he tweeted a picture, how they were even changing a tyre on his plane before take-off!

      1. Did they change it in 3.5s? ;)

  3. poor Glock. I love their CFD-only approach, so I wish they would improve cars.

    1. I doubt anything positive will ever come from CFD only, every team uses both wind tunnel & CFD that’s why Red Bull who does that is so far ahead. If they want to improve they have to improve their thinking.

  4. I’d like to see Virgin have good reliability throughout this year capitalizing on retirements to get themselves up the standings. By the looks of Lotus they are well of the pace they expected so they could well get 10th this year.

    1. They’re certainly doing far better than this time last year. They have a fuel tank that has fuel to finish the race, and their cars seem to be more reliable despite sticking with the x-trac gearbox.

  5. CFD is not the problem the team has. They just lack a competent car designer and aerodynamicist. I believe they should just turn off that CFD fluke and try design a nice mechanical package. i don’t even remember seeing a Virgin rigged with sensor and other caliberating equipments during any test. So how exactly can they verify any CFD data.

  6. With McLaren showing you can upgrade efficiently a car on data only, I think there is potential for Virgin’s approach. Maybe a talent problem in the designing department?

    1. I see I’m more or less saying the same thing as Oliver, I shouldn’t let a F1F window open for hours before writing my comment!

    2. The difference is that McLaren fitted their car with tons of aero sensors throughout testing, to get baseline data. Only then can they use CFD in an effective way… My guess would be that despite their massive CFD infrastructure, investment, and reliance, the minimal CFD that the top teams are doing has been better executed than at Virgin.

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