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Virgin confident ahead of Brazilian GP

Virgin Racing boss John Booth is confident that his team can put up a good performance in the penultimate grand prix of its maiden F1 season, at Interlagos in Brazil.
Still chasing the lucrative tenth place in this year's constructors' championship, Virgin Racing is hoping that the short Interlagos circuit will allow it to take the fight to main rival Lotus.

Just two races remain for the Dinnington-based team to better the twelfth place Heikki Kovalainen achieved for Lotus in Japan, securing the famous name a hold on the final money-paying championship spot. Recent race form suggests that may be a tall order, but Timo Glock has shown that the VR-01 still has the pace to challenge in qualifying, and team boss John Booth believes that the squad is now operating better than ever.

“It's impossible to believe we are almost at the end of the season and that, in just over a week's time, we will have travelled to Abu Dhabi and Virgin Racing's first year in F1 will be completed," he admitted.

"The next two weekends present an immense logistical challenge as we have to dismantle everything here and rebuild it in Abu Dhabi in a very short time, but we have gone from strength to strength throughout the season. At the last race in Korea we were at our best level of operational efficiency yet, so I have complete confidence.

"The whole team has done a fantastic job this year and I hope we get the opportunity to show our true form here. The Interlagos track should suit our car well, we've got a lot of good track data that we've used in the simulator and both Timo and Lucas [di Grassi] are keen to do well. The weather remains uncertain - although we seem to be saying that at every race this year - but, come rain or shine, we will be doing our utmost to deliver a strong performance and show we belong on the grid."

The last comment will be seen as a dig back at Bernie Ecclestone, who again felt compelled to criticise the newcomers this week, but if Virgin deserves its place on the grid, one of its two drivers knows that he has two chances to do likewise.

di Grassi came into F1 with a strong GP2 pedigree behind him but, despite a handful of good showings, approaches the end of the year with the threat of the axe hanging over him. Jerome d'Ambrosio will again run in the opening practice session in Brazil, amid suggestions that the Belgian will be in a race seat next year.

di Grassi will at least have the benefit of home support behind him this weekend, but it is veteran Glock on whom the team will put the greatest expectation.

The German, of course, has mixed memories of Interlagos, having missed last year's race because of injury, and been at the centre of controversy the season before that as he lost fifth position to Lewis Hamilton at the last corner of the race, giving the Briton the world title over local favourite Felipe Massa.

“Interlagos is a great circuit, fun to drive, but also technically challenging," he noted, ignoring the past, "It's important for us to show the progress we've made over the season and we'll be pushing very hard to demonstrate the speed of the car in the last two races of the season. Hopefully, we can get a good result here."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sunday, Timo Glock (GER), Virgin Racing, VR-01  and Lucas Di Grassi (BRA), Virgin Racing, VR-01
Qualifying, Lucas Di Grassi (BRA), Virgin Racing, VR-01
Friday Practice 1, Timo Glock (GER), Virgin Racing, VR-01
Friday Practice 1, Timo Glock (GER), Virgin Racing, VR-01
John Booth, Team Principal, Virgin Racing
Friday Practice 1, Timo Glock (GER), Virgin Racing, VR-01
25.03.2017 - Robert Fernley (GBR) Sahara Force India F1 Team Deputy Team Principal and John Booth (GBR) Scuderia Toro Rosso, Racing Director
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13.11.2016 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
13.11.2016 - Race, Birds
13.11.2016 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Safety car
13.11.2016 - Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
13.11.2016 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
13.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
13.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34
13.11.2016 - Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
13.11.2016 - Race, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11
13.11.2016 - Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM09

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