Timo Glock says he is under no illusions about what to expect from the season-opener Bahrain Grand Prix, admitting that he is realistic about his chances with the new Virgin Racing team.
Virgin has seen its pre-season testing plans beset by hydraulic issues with the VR-01, which have limited the amount of mileage completed by the former Toyota driver and new team-mate Lucas di Grassi.
The running completed to date has seen the Virgin car lapping well off the pace of the front-runners, but Glock said he was realistic about the future and was well aware it would take time for the team to close the gap to its rivals.
“You feel it everywhere,” he said in an interview with the official F1 website. “In braking, corner speed - everywhere. When I remember where I used to brake in the Toyota last year, everything is completely different now.
“Being realistic I know that Saturday afternoon [in Bahrain] will be short for me. I am quite sure. We are realistic and not dreaming about getting into Q2 or Q3. We will be off the pace, but I don't have any problem with that fact, as I knew when I signed what to expect in the first year. We have to work through it.
“At the moment it is impossible to judge anything, especially for us as we have no data to go back to. I want to see how far we can go with CFD to make bigger steps forward. Then I guess I will be able to assess the situation much better.
“When you are a pioneer you have to face setbacks at times. We had some issues in Jerez, but in Barcelona it has looked promising, even though we are five seconds off the pace at the moment.”
Virgin's car has been developed entirely using CFD and hasn't spent time in a wind tunnel, unlike its rivals, but Glock insisted he wasn't concerned by the lack of wind tunnel work and that the car felt exactly like a 'normal F1 car'.
“From the very beginning the numbers have matched the data we've got from the track,” he said. “We had a little update in Barcelona, and again the numbers were exactly as the CFD predicted. The big package will come for Bahrain, and I guess then we will see how good CFD really is.
“Wind tunnel work is the classic way, but some work is always done with CFD. It is amazing to see that we've been able to put a car on the track that has been entirely created by CFD. This is probably the future of designing F1 cars. We will have some problems during the first couple of races, but that goes for every new team, not just us.”