Spanish Grand Prix team-by-team: Virgin

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Virgin got both their cars to the finish for the first time in 2010.

The team ran one revised VR-01 for Timo Glock while Lucas di Grassi remains in the old car until Istanbul.

Timo GlockLucas di Grassi
Qualifying position2223
Qualifying time comparison (Q1)1’25.475 (-0.081)1’25.556
Race position1819
Average race lap1’32.558 (-1.323)1’33.881
Pit stops11
Spanish Grand prix lap times: Virgin
Spanish Grand prix lap times: Virgin

Timo Glock

Glock demonstrated the improved pace of the VR-01, lapping much quicker than his team mate in the opening stages of the race.

Encouragingly, the team were on the pace of Jarno Trulli in the revised Lotus, and Glock ended the race just 1.5 seconds behind his former team mate.

But both Virgin cars lost a huge amount of time letting the leaders past once they had caught the VR-01 to lap him, as the lap time chart above shows. Glock said:

I had a good race-long battle with Jarno but the amount of traffic we experienced made it very difficult. Out of 66 laps, only 15 of them were in free air and the rest were full of blue flags.
Timo Glock

We’ve discussed before how severely the blue flags rules punish slower cars to help the leaders get past with minimum disruption. Lapped cars are warned about approaching cars long before they reach them, and because they must allow the leaders past within a limited amount of time, the lapped cars are badly delayed.

This is problematic for two reasons: it makes life rather too easy for the leaders – in other series they wouldn’t get as much help passing backmarkers.

It also becomes self-perpetuating. Forcing lapped cars to slow down as much as this means they get caught to be lapped by other cars even sooner, meaning they have to slow down again, and so on.

Yes, it’s up to Virgin and the other new teams to build faster cars so they don’t get lapped in the first place. But this shows there’s good reason to think about relaxing or scrapping the blue flag rules.

Compare Timo Glock’s form against his team mate in 2010

Lucas di Grassi

There’s little scope for comparison between di Grassi and Glock while the Brazilian driver continues to race the old car.

He was the target of criticism from Lewis Hamilton, who felt di Grassi should have done more to get out of the way while Hamilton was trying to pass Sebastian Vettel.

Compare Lucas di Grassi’s form against his team mate in 2010

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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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10 comments on “Spanish Grand Prix team-by-team: Virgin”

  1. A little unfair for Hamilton to criticise di Grassi. di Grassi was half committed to the corner before Lewis began avoiding action. It is unfair to expect drivers to move off the racing line whilst going through a corner! Di Grassi did very well in my opinion. He moved over as far as possible.

    I reckon having the old, chasis might be of a benefit for Monaco. The car is shorter and with a smaller fuel tank will be a little lighter than the updated one?

    1. I did wonder that myself (about the shorter chassis).

      1. Hasn’t history shown that short chassis is better in Monaco? Wasn’t it a few years back that Ferrari had a superior long wheel base chassis and the only race they didn’t “dominate” was Monaco where they infact struggled in pace to McLaren (I believe it was) whom they (Ferrari) on all other circuits seemed to be much stronger then.

        It’s fun to see in Indycar the front runners fight with lapped cars whom reluctantly gives up their lead lap position (no blue flags there). BUT it can go to extreme Danica Patrick at Kansas City speedway refused to give up yet she was considerably slower and did a lot of blocking to keep the lapping car behind (for numerous laps around the oval). Her car was badly setup to the point she even had to lift through the corners. For the uninitiated Indycars and Nascar tends to go full throttle from start to finish under green conditions on highest gear. At Long Beach there was a incident where a lapping car got crashed into by the lapped car in a corner (the lapped car turned into the lapping car in the corner presumably to try to close the door and possibly unknowingly that it wasn’t a race for position).
        Many are calling for something to have to be done but they do not necessary want the F1 style blue flags just more respect to the cars on lead laps and possibilities that during yellow flag periods lapped cars are allowed to unlap themselves so they are not impeding on restart since from yellow to green there is no overtaking and race continues where it was interrupted so if there is 10 lapped cars between #1 and #2 then the race starts that way. To the annoyance at last race because last yellow went green with just a few laps left and so many lapped cars in the way that there was no chance to race for position and the last yellow was out for many laps where those cars probably would been worked out and could had a chance to race for position for the front runners. As well this was the blame for the last yellow because on restart of previous yellow there was quickly an incident with cars being lapped resulting in another yellow immediately after green flag.

  2. I think Di Grassi was trying to keep out of their way as much as he could without going off track. It was funny to hear Lewis complaining to Charlie Whiting.

    As far as the Blue Flags are concerned, loosen it up for the backmarkers. It is not fair, even if they do their best to get out of the way they get critisized (Di Grassi) or they just drive into and over them (Massa and Alguersuari on Karun Chandhoks HRT).

    1. Agreed. The frontrunners are just as responsible as the backmarkers are in ensuring they pass safely. It’s also a bit unfair for the backmarkers as the more they slow to let themselves be lapped the slower they become and the more they continue getting lapped. It’ll be interesting to see how this all unfolds at Monaco.

  3. I think lewis was trying to prove a point when he addressed Charlie. I dont think he was mad at the backrunner.

    1. Yeah, with the amount of attention that Hamilton and Vettel’s driving styles have been getting lately I think he was just trying to cover his back.

  4. Di Grassi showed a bit of inexperience I think. With Vettal and Hamilton bearing down on him at Turn 1, the best thing for him to do was to get around the corner as quickly as possible, and then stay out wide for the left-hander at Turn 2. Slowing down in Turn 1 was only ever going to look like him parking on the apex.

  5. Having grown up on Indy racing, I agree with relaxing the blue flag rules majorly. One of the most exciting parts of the race for me was always watching to see how the leaders handled lapped cars, especially in the midst of a battle. If they want to “improve the show” like they always claim, let the leaders prove their worth by having to suck it up and race backmarkers. Just think of how many times in this race it would have created passing opportunities and put some more action out there in general.

  6. I do think Di Grassi could have handled that particular lapping better, as LewisC mentions. However, in general I think they need
    to go back to only waving them when a back marker is really refusing to let people by, as I think it used to be in the 90ties and earlier 2000s. Since the faster cars are nearly two seconds
    faster in the race anyway, they should be able to pass relatively easily, and if not, well, maybe then we can finally judge their overtaking prowess as it then create opportunities for overtaking.

    Sunday I recall McLaren telling Button: traffic ahead, maybe you can use it, but with current blue flags, something has to go really wrong for them to be able to actually do so.

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