Canadian Grand Prix Qualifying – Marussia Virgin Racing
Free Practice 3 & Qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix
Saturday 11 June 2011
After a long night preparing a new chassis for Jérôme d’Ambrosio to race in tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix, the Marussia Virgin Racing team had both cars ready for today’s third free practice session. After an initial installation lap, during which the race brakes were bedded in, the team completed its evaluation programme, with Timo Glock focusing on shorter runs and setup changes while Jérôme concentrated on tyre degradation over a long run. Both cars ran with the Soft and Super-Soft Pirelli P-Zero tyres, although Jérôme only had a short run on the Option tyre at the end of the session.
Although the skies were darker than in the morning and temperatures cooler for qualifying, the expected rain had not materialised, meaning that the team’s strategy of focusing on a wet race could cause problems with the 107% rule. Both cars ran with Option tyres over two runs with Timo setting the 22nd fastest lap. Despite his lack of setup time with the new chassis, Jérôme was steadily improving but ultimately ran out of time and was classified 24th and outside the 107% zone. The Stewards have since permitted Jérôme to race tomorrow having taken into consideration the damage incurred during his accident yesterday and his previous performances.
“Quite a tough day for us I think. We tried to concentrate on getting a setup for wet conditions as the forecast was strongly indicating rain and so our downforce level is more suitable for wet conditions than for dry. The predictions are still uncertain but we hope this will work in our favour. It will probably be quite difficult to turn it around tomorrow, but at least we have enough downforce to save the tyres. We just have to see what tomorrow brings.”
“It’s been a tough 24 hours since my crash yesterday – both for me and the team. Getting the car built overnight and running again was a huge task for the guys but only half the battle as we then had just this morning’s free practice session to try to arrive at a setup that would enable us to qualify. In the end it wasn’t enough and I’m just very disappointed for myself and the team to have missed out. The car felt completely different to yesterday and clearly Timo’s time is more representative of what we should have achieved in qualifying. I am very appreciative of the fact that the Stewards have permitted me to race and I’m now focusing on tomorrow.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“It was a long night for the team but in the end both cars were ready to run in time for Free Practice 3 this morning. Jérôme’s crew did a fantastic job to prepare his car to our usual standards, so all credit to them.
“With the disruptions in the session yesterday we devoted some of this morning’s Free Practice 3 session to preparing for the race and perhaps in hindsight we should have allocated further time to our qualifying setup.
“We’ve seen quite a few varying weather forecasts over the last few days and on Friday afternoon, when deciding on the ratios we would run for the rest of the weekend, we opted to use our high downforce rear wing as at the time weather forecasts for Saturday and Sunday indicated a chance of rain. Overnight these forecasts changed slightly to say the qualifying session would be dry so we knew it would always be tough for us in these conditions. As they always say you can never predict the weather and the latest forecasts are suggesting that the conditions may swing back in our favour.
“Despite the fact that Jérôme failed to qualify today we are grateful to the Stewards for permitting him to race, having considered that he did set a suitable lap time during a free practice session, that he has consistently met the criteria under Article 36.3 this season and the extent of the overnight repairs required by the damage incurred in Free Practice 2. After the disappointment of qualifying it is both a relief and a justifiable reward to the mechanics for their substantial efforts through the night. It will be a tough race for him having been so unhappy with the car this morning so we will spend the evening looking at what we can do to help him have a better race.”