Timo Glock has revealed his fear that Virgin Racing's arch-rival Hispania Racing (HRT) has 'taken a giant step' forward recently and as such 'will be in front of us' in this weekend's European Grand Prix in Valencia.
Hispania began the F1 2011 campaign in chaotic circumstances, failing – for the second year in succession – to conduct any testing at all pre-season, and unsurprisingly seeing its two Cosworth-powered F111s prove unable to qualify for the Australian Grand Prix curtain-raiser back in March.
Virgin, by contrast, debuted its own new MVR-02 during the second of the four pre-season test sessions at Jerez in southern Spain, but the team's fortunes have since spiralled, with technical director Nick Wirth – whose utter reliance upon the unconventional aerodynamic doctrine of CFD has been largely held accountable for the car's distinct lack of performance this season – being shown the door earlier this month [see separate story – click here
In the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal just under a fortnight ago, Vitantonio Liuzzi out-qualified both Virgin drivers – with Hispania team-mate Narain Karthikeyan coming within a whisker of doing the same – and in the race the following day, the HRT pairing finished ahead of the Virgin duo on-track, although the Indian was subsequently penalised three places for having cut the chicane. Glock fears that the tide is beginning to turn.
“Hispania have taken a giant step,” the German told Auto Motor und Sport
. “I'm afraid that they will be in front of us here.”
What's more, the 29-year-old will be competing in Valencia with an injured finger, meaning he will need to 'adapt' his driving style accordingly until it is healed.
“I did it on Tuesday,” he confessed. “It's a pretty deep cut – I thought I had cut it off! I will have to use the steering wheel slightly differently because I can't really bend it, and I will use the gearshift paddle with the three lower fingers.”