Virgin Racing is 'planning to be in the midfield' in F1 2012, Timo Glock has revealed, and fighting 'at eye-level with Toro Rosso, Force India and co.' – but in the short-term, concedes Graeme Lowdon, the team would settle merely for a touch of precipitation to aid its chances in the upcoming German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.
Glock's patience at backmarker Virgin has been tested to the limit at times over the past season-and-a-half, with little ostensible progress following a comparatively bright start out-of-the-blocks in 2010, and indeed arguably a step backwards in 2011 – in large part, it is held, due to technical director Nick Wirth's insistence upon sticking solely to the unconventional aerodynamic doctrine of CFD (computational fluid dynamics) rather than following the more traditional, tried-and-tested wind tunnel route as espoused by all of its F1 rivals.
However, Wirth's services have since been dispensed with, the team has purchased the former Simtek designer's state-of-the-art facilities in Banbury and a technical arrangement has been concluded with McLaren – all cementing Glock's conviction that after heading down the wrong path for some time, Virgin is finally oriented in the right direction [see separate story – click here
]. For so long disheartened by the consistent lack of progress, the German is now optimistic that giant strides can be taken next year.
“I know it sounds ambitious, but we are planning to be in the midfield in 2012,” the former Toyota star told Auto Motor und Sport
, with Virgin having already switched its attentions and resources to making a much better job of next season's challenger. “Then, if possible, we'll fight at eye-level with Toro Rosso, Force India and co. It won't be easy, but I'm optimistic.”
In the meantime, Virgin Racing president Graeme Lowdon has told the team's local newspaper the Sheffield Star
that off the back of a two-car finish on home turf in the British Grand Prix at a wet Silverstone a week-and-a-half ago – in 16th and 17th places at the chequered flag – more rain would be just what the doctor ordered in the Eifel Mountains this weekend.
“The aim is to be the best of the teams who qualify in and around us, which are Team Lotus and Hispania, so we want to finish [as] the best of that pack,” he confessed, acknowledging that in the dry, the MVR-02 has struggled woefully to generate downforce and outright pace in F1 2011 to-date.
“We will do the best that we can and make sure that we don't make any mistakes. If we could repeat the performance that we produced at Silverstone, that would be absolutely fine. If a few cars have trouble, then we want to be in a position to take advantage of that.
“If the conditions are challenging, then I would certainly back our drivers to do really well in a situation where the weather is variable. We have to maximise the package that we have got, and that is what we measure ourselves on at the moment.”