Difficult weather conditions yielded a mixed bag of results for the four Cosworth-powered teams in Sunday's rain-afflicted Chinese Grand Prix, but the engine builder returns to base - or, at least, tries to - satisfied with its initial return to Formula One.

AT&T Williams driver Rubens Barrichello was the highest placed Cosworth driver in twelfth position, coming home just two seconds shy of maintaining the team's run of points-scoring finishes this season, while a 14th place finish belied a hard-fought and well-judged race from Lotus Racing's Heikki Kovalainen, who had made the most of an intelligent strategy to run as high as sixth in the early stages, before finishing just one lap down - and ahead of the second Williams of Nico H?lkenberg.

"The Chinese Grand Prix brings to an end the opening group of 'flyaway' races for this season, and we can reflect on a generally positive first four events for Cosworth," Cosworth general manager Mark Gallagher said, "The highlight of the race was definitely Heikki's result for Lotus and seeing him briefly running in the top six but, unfortunately, none of our teams picked up points, although there were still some noteworthy performances, which were not necessarily reflected by the end positions.

"Along with the team we decided on Saturday morning to change Rubens Barrichello's engine, although this was purely precautionary. With a fresh engine, he then had a strong qualifying session and was only prevented from reaching Q3 by the tiniest fraction."

The rookie Hispania Racing F1 team also had cause for satisfaction with its second consecutive two-car finish, on this occasion with Bruno Senna ahead of team-mate Karun Chandhok. Unfortunately, however, neither Virgin Racing driver completed the race, with Lucas di Grassi experiencing clutch problems and Timo Glock retiring as a result of a chassis-related fire that damaged the engine's AVS system.

"HRT were delighted with another two-car finish, but it was unfortunate that Virgin Racing endured reliability trouble," Gallagher continued, "Timo's car experienced a chassis-related fire on the way to the grid, which subsequently damaged the engine's AVS system and forced him out of the race on the opening lap. Overall, though, the data we have gathered during China will allow us to fine-tune the chassis-engine performance further with our teams ahead of the start of the European season."

When the Cosworth crew and its data arrives back in Europe is currently anyone's guess, however, as a volcanic ash cloud continues to wreak havoc across the continent's airspace.

As many as 19 track support staff took up temporary residence back in Malaysia as they endeavoured to make their way back to the UK, and only then as the result of the invaluable support of Lotus team boss Tony Fernandes and his AirAsia airline, which ferried the Cosworth group from Hangzhou to Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

"I cannot thank Tony Fernandes and AirAsia enough for the support that they have given us since Sunday to get the Cosworth team from China to Kuala Lumpur," Gallagher continued, "We have been treated fabulously well and the AirAsia staff have been absolutely outstanding. I was also able to get some very constructive feedback on our CA2010 from Heikki Kovalainen on the journey, which reinforces the benefits that Cosworth derives from having such a highly-experienced and technically-savvy driver.

"We are now back in the same hotel as we were for the Malaysian Grand Prix, planning our route back to Europe, most likely with AirAsia. We have three weeks to prepare for the next race in Spain, but a lot of our preparation work depends on when the F1 freight makes it back to Europe.

"We are aiming to conduct a standard health check-up on all available engines before Spain, although there will be no negative impact if air travel restrictions prevent this from happening. Our teams actually face a bigger dilemma as they look to prepare upgrades to their cars for the start of the European season, and it goes to show that there is no such luxury as a three-week break in F1, as everyone now faces a race against time for the Spain-Monaco double header."