Technical director Nick Wirth insisted that Virgin Racing's performance is improving, despite both its cars failing to make it to the finish of the Australian Grand Prix.

Both cars started from the pitlane after the team was forced to break parc ferme rules to fix a fuel pick-up problem with Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi forced to run in fuel-saving mode during the race due to the well-publicised fuel tank issues.

Unfortunately di Grassi was forced to retire with a hydraulic issue while Glock was on target to make it to the finish before a suspension problem forced him out of the race.

"The drivers and the team coped well with the unusual driving style that this [aggressive fuel-saving] called for, as well as the tricky conditions, and overall they both did a brilliant job for the team today," Wirth said. "Lucas' race ended with an internal hydraulic leak, the cause of which we have yet to identify. We got to 70 per cent distance with Timo and were on target to finish the race fuel-wise when it seems that a rear suspension bracket came loose and allowed some setting shims to eventually fall out, which ended his race.

"Ultimately we leave here yet to finish our first Grand Prix but with clear signs that our performance is improving."

Team principal John Booth added that the team could leave Melbourne for Malaysia with 'heads held high' and said he was proud of the way the Manor-run outfit had battled against its problems.

"I'd like to applaud the team on a terrific job in the face of a challenging set of circumstances, at the end of a difficult weekend," he said. "The start from the pit lane was seamless and the boys were 'on it' in our first live pit stops. We got to almost half distance with Lucas and nearly three-quarters of the race with Timo and with the problems we've had I am very proud of the way the team have coped.

"We can go into Malaysia with our heads held high and knowing that things will get better as we get more of the season under our belts."

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