Timo Glock will remain an integral part of Virgin Racing's F1 programme after confirming that he would remain with the Dinnington-based squad for a second season.
While team boss John Booth has never appeared to doubt the German's continued role as lead driver for the outfit in 2011, Glock had yet to confirm that he would take up the second year option on his deal, particularly with seats such as Vitaly Petrov's at Renault apparently undecided. Now, however, even without the Russian's future settled, Glock has revealed that he will remain at Virgin - ironically, with new Russian investment - next season.
"I am definitely driving for Virgin Racing," he confirmed during an interview with the team's official website, "There has been a lot of speculation about me wanting to leave the team, but it is not about leaving a team, it is about wanting to do better and keep moving forward. It is not just 99.9 per cent certain that I will stay, as has been reported - it is 100 per cent certain
that I am staying!
"I'm excited. Since the beginning, I have had a long-term contract with the team and I said then that I was doing this to help build a team for the future. It would not be possible to do that in one year from nothing. Plus I think, with everything we have learned this year, we can take a very good step up next season. This is a great team of people who have given blood, sweat and tears to our first season. Some people haven't seen that with their own eyes, like I have, so it's easy to criticise or be cynical.
"[This season was] extremely challenging and very hard work – for the whole team. 2010 was a tough test for us all, but we survived and it was ultimately very rewarding for me. There were frustrations along the way and, when things don't go well, as a driver who is ambitious, I admit it was sometimes difficult, but I joined Virgin Racing knowing there would be difficult times ahead, so it wasn't really a surprise to me.
"We were building something from zero - no team, no factory, no previous year's car to develop from and no data. Everything we have we have built ourselves in the space of less than a year. We should also remember that we were also taking a pretty revolutionary design approach to the VR-01 [and] if you look at our season from that perspective, we have achieved something pretty incredible.
"[The toughest times] were mostly at the start of the season, when it was right to expect them. Once we got into Europe, we got better with every race. When you are in the heat of competition though, as a racing driver, you are only focused on what is going on at the time. It is difficult to stand back and think 'oh well, it's only our debut season' or 'we qualified as the best of the new teams yesterday, so it's not so bad that we didn't do so well in the race today'.
"There is no point in me sitting in the engineering truck after a session and not trying to contribute as much as I can. We had to examine all the things we could have done better so that, next time, we can do it better. As I say, as the season went on, things got easier and as we understood the car and each other, we had something pretty strong that we can all feel pleased with.
"I think we showed that it is possible to design and develop a good all-digital F1 car. Perhaps the way we demonstrated this most is how we developed the car from pre-season testing to the end of the season. It was a very big step. The issue is always how quickly the competition is developing at the same time so, in the end, we did not do enough to end the season as the best of the new teams, but that is not a reflection on our approach - more our rate of development. We have shown that we have a good direction and I have faith in our approach."