Virgin Racing will just be focusing on making 'small incremental steps' in Malaysia and in China, team principal, John Booth confirmed today.
Although Virgin got both cars to the chequered flag in Australia last weekend, there was little to get excited about and number one driver, Timo Glock has publicly said the squad is flirting with disaster as it is sailing dangerously close to the 107 per cent rule in qualifying and therefore potentially risks missing the cut for grand's prix [see separate story - click here
]. Booth meanwhile has now conceded that the next two races will be all about collecting data so they can hopefully make bigger steps later on this year.
“This round of long-haul races means there are few developments we can bring to the car until the next significant upgrade for Turkey. Our focus for now is on gathering as much data as possible to plough back into the development cycle to ensure we can go on to make those bigger steps through the season,” he confirmed.
“This time last year we were struggling with reliability issues that were preventing us from finishing races. This year we've demonstrated that we are on top of that and that is a much better starting point to build upon.
“We know what we have to do, so whilst that work is taking place behind the scenes, the best job we can do is to keep bringing cars home and focusing on smaller incremental steps,” he added.
Despite very modest goals for the Sepang though, Booth is aware that the weather might throw a spanner in the works, and that could be Virgin's best, possibly only, hope.
“After the cool temperatures in Australia, we now move on to Kuala Lumpur where the fierce heat and humidity are a major challenge for cars and drivers up and down the grid. The Monsoon-type downpours that we see - and which we have stopped races in the past - also represent a good opportunity as they displace the usual order and turn things into a bit more of a lottery, good for us and good for the fans,” he continued.
“Of course nobody has run the Pirelli tyres in the kind of temperatures we are likely to experience in Sepang [either].
“In Melbourne we did not have the degradation levels we had been expecting after the tests in Spain, and it may well be that there will be another surprise in store in Malaysia...”