Wirth: Virgin behind schedule

Virgin Racing’s technical director Nick Wirth has said that his team are behind schedule with the development of their new car, the VR-01.

The new team suffered with hydraulic problems at Jerez last week, and as a result will be forced to continue reliability work in Barcelona this week rather than transfer their attention to aerodynamics.

“It has been a character-building week, that’s for sure,” said Wirth. “Despite our best efforts to cure the hydraulic problem which has beset our entire test, this was simply not achievable with the components that we had available in the field.

“The specific problem is that we have been losing hydraulic oil at a rate which has limited the number of laps we can achieve on each run and so we look forward to receiving updated parts for the Barcelona test, which we expect to fully resolve the problem.

“Having said that, we will now need to continue focusing on reliability work when we would have liked to introduce our Bahrain-specification aerodynamic updates. The revised programme means we will be reserving our full set of aero warpaint for the first race.”

Wirth must have taken heart from the fact that his revised, stronger front wing stayed on the car last week, and also said that the package had good foundations.

“On a positive note, despite these issues, we have actually completed a lot of good race preparation work and it is satisfying to see the car’s potential with minimum set-up changes or development, bearing in mind that we have consistently run with a healthy amount of fuel,” he said.

“Indeed, none of our lap times have been achieved with anything close to qualifying fuel and therefore we are not letting the frustrations in one specific area overshadow what has generally been an encouraging start to our development programme.”