Q & A with Timo Glock
|By Edd Straw
||Thursday, February 11th 2010, 18:10 GMT
Virgin Racing's Formula 1 debut has got off to a tricky start, with rain and the late arrival of parts limiting its mileage on day one at Jerez, and then a front wing breakage halting Timo Glock early today.
But Glock has remain bullish about the situation - telling the gathered press, including AUTOSPORT, that he accepted teething troubles would be inevitable when he signed for a start-up team.
Q. What happened today?
Timo Glock: We had a problem with the front wing unfortunately, and in the end when they analysed it we couldn't run anymore as they had to get the new parts overnight. We will have it tomorrow morning. Unfortunately one of the days without rain and we couldn't run and get any data.
Q. Was the wing not properly fixed on?
TG: It was properly fixed but it didn't work like we expected.
Q. Is it being modified now?
TG: Yeah. But overall I think that's part of being in a new team, and we have to take it like it is and try to get as much running as possible. Tomorrow hopefully it's going to be dry again, but it's a bit of a shame when you have not enough days of testing and you lose a complete day. For a new team, that's difficult. But that's how it is and it should go better tomorrow.
Q. Were problems like this something you expected when you decided to join a new team?
TG: Yeah. For me it was. I said already at the launch that we will have problems which no one knows so far. This is normal. We have to sort it out as quick as possible and it's good that we have it at the test. Sure, it would be better to drive more to get more data from the car but that it's clear that we have to sort out quite a lot of stuff, and this is one part of it.
Q. How does Virgin compare to your previous team? What is the main difference compared to Toyota?
TG: What is the main difference? Toyota had just really, really big resources, and maybe you could fix problems like this a bit quicker. But the point is we have a lot of clever people here and they know what they're doing. Maybe we are just a bit limited in terms of production, [compared to] as quick as the big teams can do it. That's a bit of a limiting factor. The other teams just open the door and get a new part out, and we have to produce a lot of new parts at the moment, and that makes life a bit difficult.
Q. How was the car handling?
TG: I can't say much at the moment. This morning some corners were still wet. It doesn't feel bad, but for sure we will not be fighting for the top five or top ten at the beginning, but it does feel okay. We have to just sort it out. We don't have any proper set-up at the moment. We were just starting to fine-tune ride heights and things like this. There is no real feeling. The numbers from that run were what we expected and look good, so that's positive, but you have to have a proper run to really get a feeling.
Q. Were you anxious before the car ran for the first time?
TG: No, I mean you have some mixed feelings when you run the first time, like we did in the shakedown at Silverstone. But I felt quite quickly that it was doing exactly what it should do. That's positive. It's good. That's what I'm looking forward to this season, really seeing the effect of how we develop the car.
Q. Were you afraid when the wing broke?
TG: No. Sure, you think at the first moment, 'oooh, what's going on?' But it's part of the process.
Q. This is the first chance you've had to see how the team works at the track. Are you pleased so far?
TG: Yeah. From the engineering side they do a really, really good job I would say. The mechanics are flat-out. They had to work 24 hours on the first day and they prepared the car really, really well. There is still fine-tuning because the people are new to working together, but on all sides communication is coming quickly.
How we sort out problems is the right way to do it - we go straight into the problem, find it, and find a solution for it really quickly. It's straightforward, let's say.
Q. Are the crew all new to F1?
TG: I know quite a lot of people. Of the engineers, Dave Greenwood came from Renault, Mark Hutchinson worked for Red Bull. I know them quite well.
Q. Anyone from Toyota?
TG: No. I have to say I still don't know all 600 people from Toyota, so maybe there is someone from Toyota, but I don't think so...
Q. Is it still a boost that Virgin was able to be here and the other new teams weren't?
TG: That's a positive sign, and makes me more confident in my decision. Because there were two other options that could have been the wrong one. The point is that's positive for us.
Unfortunately we couldn't really use the test where we were ahead of the other teams, especially Lotus, but it's positive that they planned over 10 months to bring the car to Silverstone on Friday to do a shakedown, and got it on that day and got everything together. I think that's a big target that they had, and they achieved it, and that's already a big step. Now we have to do the next steps, which are even harder I think.
Q. Are you comfortable in the car yet?
TG: Yep, we sorted it out already on the Silverstone Stowe circuit where we did the shakedown. Here we just have some fine-tuning to do, but not much. That's already positive. If you jump in the car and straightaway your seat and everything is right, you get good feedback from the car.
Q. Does it look like a normal F1 car from inside? Is it what you're used to?
TG: It's quite similar. Sure there are some points on the car that are different to the Toyota, and it doesn't matter which Formula 1 car you jump in - they feel different and give different feedback. But it's nothing strange or different compared to the others.
Q. The design is impressive...
TG: Should it look different?
Q. Pictures of the Lotus suggests the Virgin has more detail... were you impressed?
TG: I saw it already a couple of months ago when I was over the first time, and a lot of computer simulations were already there. I saw how far they were, and it looked quite impressive already.
I think for Bahrain there will be quite a lot of updates. This is just the baseline. There is nothing magic on here. It's a normal front wing, nothing really special on it. But there are some points on the car where I think it's quite aggressive. Some good ideas.
Q. Do you have a target lap time for Jerez based on your simulations?
TG: No, the target now is to do as many miles as possible. We are not here to try to get the quickest time possible.
Q. But will you try?
TG: It doesn't matter what fuel level you have - everyone has maybe a higher level or a lower level and you see it on the lap times. It's clear that we will be maybe 2s off the pace or even more. The others have developed over the winter time.
I would like to have it that we come here with a new team and be straight on the pace, but it's not the case. Formula 1 is really difficult and we know that. But we have a plan and we'll follow that and try to develop as quick as possible.
Q. Was everything okay apart from the wing today?
TG: Yep. No problems. The gearbox was working really well. No cooling problems or stuff like that. Brakes were okay as well.
Q. Are you confident that when the car comes back out tomorrow everything will be fine, or are you thinking about other problems?
TG: I don't think so. [Designer] Nick [Wirth] is quite hard on the safety side of it. He wants to have a car that is really solid and has no problems in it. Sure the front wing is a point we have to work on now because that was not expected, but I don't have any doubts. There shouldn't be any stuff but we don't know. It should be okay.