Marussia Virgin Racing was hoping that a major overhaul of its MVR-02 would bring it closer to Team Lotus as the 2011 F1 season resumed in Turkey, but teething troubles again prevented the Dinnington squad from using the car's new potential.
Timo Glock's car featured the full uprated specification, with rookie team-mate Jérôme d'Ambrosio's having around 50 per cent of the new elements, but the wet conditions that greeted the field on Friday morning meant that the drivers were only able to complete a total of 26 laps between them. After the first couple of laps, d'Ambrosio was already communicating to his engineer that the track was very slippery, while Glock reported massive aquaplaning in some areas of the track, and suffered a major spin on the standing water, albeit without hitting anything.
Because of the conditions, both cars were confined to the garage as they waited for the track to improve and only returned at the end of the session - when a red flag and more rain hampered their progress still further.
The sun finally came out after lunch and conditions improved in the warmer temperatures, allowing Glock to start to evaluate the upgraded MVR-02. He completed 22 laps, while d'Ambrosio, after a small power steering issue delayed his appearance, completed another 28.
“The weather has made for a difficult start to the weekend," Glock sighed, "This morning, it was very tricky for everyone as there was a lot of standing water everywhere but, in the second session, we got a better chance to start evaluating the new package, which was really the priority for today because we knew there would be a lot of work to do.
"There have been some issues we have had to deal with, especially with the exhausts, and once we work through those we will be better off. Overall, we need to look at the data we have gathered now to see what we can learn about the new package because, as we predicted, it's not easy getting something so new to work straight out of the box.”
“The elements of the upgrade package that we fitted to Jérôme's car have performed well today, so we're pleased with the progress there, but Timo's car, with the full package, was always going to be a bigger 'ask' because of the complexity of the car at the rear with the new blown exhaust system," team principal John Booth reported.
"It is always difficult coming straight into a race weekend with such a new and complicated package and with no testing to optimise it. As we predicted, there have been a few issues to contend with, particularly with the management of the heat from the exhausts. Generally, we've made a good start on Jérôme's side, but we have yet to realise the full performance potential of the wider package with Timo. We have a lot of work to do and a lot of data to look through to see how we can extract more from the package.”