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."

The arrival of Russian sportscar manufacturer Marussia as more than just a sponsor also excites Glock ahead of the new campaign.

"It is great news," he insisted, "We are a small team and that is what we set out to be - to begin to challenge the thinking that you have to be a giant spending hundreds of millions of pounds each year to achieve good things in F1. But it is not easy and Marussia becoming more involved in our team is very good news. They have been close enough this year to see what the team has built and what it can achieve, so this is a great compliment to everyone at Virgin Racing. But, with their support and ambition, we have a secure basis from which to push hard and try to achieve our racing objectives over the next few years."

While Glock has confirmed his own place in the line-up for 2011, Virgin has yet to reveal the pairing that it will take into season two, and announcement no doubt on hold until the future of Lucas di Grassi is sorted. The Brazilian failed to perform consistently in his debut campaign, and is being linked to various reserve driver roles for next year, which could potentially open the door to either Belgium's Jerome d'Ambrosio - who ran four Friday morning practice sessions with the team towards the end of the season - or Russia's World Series by Renault champion Mikhail Aleshin, who is likewise looking to graduate to the top flight in 2011.

"I understand that the team wants to announce the line-up together when the second seat is confirmed," Glock commented, "I think it is right to take our time and make sure we have the best combination of youth and experience, plus make sure we have the best information going back into the team at testing and races to ensure we can develop as quickly as we want to and keep moving forward. I don't think we will have to wait too much longer for that news - hopefully before Christmas!"



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