Q & A with Lucas di Grassi

Virgin Racing's first public test was a fraught experience, with the weather and various issues - most notably Thursday's front wing breakage - preventing the VR-01 from completing many laps during the first three days at Jerez

Q & A with Lucas di Grassi

But today Lucas di Grassi was finally able to start putting some miles on his new car, completing 63 laps in total. Afterwards he talked to AUTOSPORT about Virgin's progress.

Q. You got some good mileage today, are you happy?

Lucas di Grassi: Yeah, much better. As we discussed yesterday, it was very important for us to have a baseline to start working on the car. Today finally with the weather and with everything in place, we were able to do some running and have a baseline to start work for the next test.

Q. Are you at the point you wanted to be at the end of this test? Do you know you can go to the next test with everything working now?

LDG: I think the weather didn't help - we had two and a half days of rain out of four - and I think we would have wanted to do more dry mileage, but as we are a new team with a completely new car for this test, I think ending up with these 63 laps today was a good achievement. At least now we have two days to sit down, calmly analyse all the data we've got from today, and also the engineers can try to find a way of improving the car performance.

Q. You set a solid time today, what level of fuel were you carrying?

LDG: It was okay. I don't think we are the lightest car on the sheet and we are not the heaviest. The last two years I've driven an F1 car for two and a half days, so I need to improve my driving, get more used to this new car - it has different feedback to what I was used to - and the same for the car, there's a lot of room for improvement in every aspect of the car. But as a baseline now we can start working on each of these aspects.

Q. Is the car's handling fairly predictable?

LDG: I think the most important thing with the car is that there is no chronic problem. There is no project mistake or anything. The car is doing well. It's behaving as a Formula 1 car, and now we just need to improve its performance and reliability.

Q. What was your programme today? Could you work on the set-up, or was it still really an installation test?

LDG: We started the day actually with no reference from any other test, or we started from scratch. We were trying to find a direction for where to work with the car. We haven't gone through many things. The important thing was really to do some important reliability tests, and I think for the next test now we can start thinking about performance, set-up and other things.

Q. Do you now feel you can put in a respectable performance in Bahrain?

LDG: Yeah, if you consider that the other guys have been doing this for 20 years and they've had at least six days of testing - they had three days at Valencia last week plus four days here. And this is our first day with a car we started building eight months ago. I think we have a lot of room for improvement in Bahrain in many areas.

So I was very pleased with what I felt of the car today, and also the feedback from the engineers and how the team worked - it's a new team, some people are used to F1, some are not. Now the team is starting to get together and everything is starting to be more fluid and things are starting to work better. So I'll quite happy with this first run for our car and definitely things are going to get better for Bahrain.

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Di Grassi relieved to get good mileage

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