Di Grassi: Too early to judge performance

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Lucas di Grassi is keen to do as much mileage as possible in the final day of the second F1 test tomorrow after completing just eight laps in the Virgin VR-01 today.

Di Grassi told F1 Fanatic:

It was a bit frustrating to only do eight laps because the important thing for us at the moment is to do as much mileage as possible.

It’s a new car, new components, new everything so we need to do mileage. The wing problem yesterday didn’t help and today the weather also didn’t help so I’m looking forward to having the opportunity tomorrow to do as much mileage as possible and in the next tests.
Lucas di Grassi

The Virgin VR-01 only made it onto the track 90 minutes before the end of the session as the team shipped in and fitted new parts to the car to replace the broken front wing Timo Glock suffered yesterday.

By this time the rain was falling hard, limiting the amount of running di Grassi could do. He said:

The weather looks not so good tomorrow but we need to start doing some mileage before we can work on performance.

We’ve been running the car only in the wet so far, the ideal is to do some dry runs to check the wear of the components in the right environment because the forces are much higher in the dry. More G-force, harder braking and so on.

We did eight laps today just to check the car, we weren’t running for performance at all. Step by step, we’re going to start working on performance and reliability to arrive ready for the first race.

Of course we are realistic so the target now is to have a reliable car for the first race.
Lucas di Grassi

This was his second time in the car having participated in the shakedown run at Silverstone last week. Di Grassi says he is not yet completely comfortable in the VR-01:

The car is not 100% comfortable, it’s quite small for me, I’m a bit bigger than Timo. But it’s fine.

It’s just a question of doing a few more laps. In testing last year I did one and a half days to I need more kilometres to get more used to a Formula 1 car.
Lucas di Grassi

Before getting the seat at Virgin di Grassi drove for Renault in the young drivers’ test at Jerez last December. He said there weren’t many similarities between driving the R29 and the VR-01:

It’s completely different. Renault is a world championship winning team so it was completely different from the drivers’ point of view of just sitting down and driving with a team that is established.

The other difference is being able to follow the development of the car from the beginning and being able to do a lot of days and prepare the car so it’s a very different environment for me.
Lucas di Grassi

There could be as many as four Brazilian drivers in F1 this year with di Grassi joining fellow newcomer Bruno Senna and existing drivers Felipe Massa and Rubens Barrichello. Di Grassi said of his compatriots:

We have a very good relationship off the track – I’m living in the same building as Felipe in Monaco. And I used to live in the same building as Bruno a couple of years ago in London.

So we are very good friends but, of course, on track when it comes to fighting it’s like fighting with anybody else.
Lucas di Grassi

Di Grass will be in the car again tomorrow but it remains to be seen if the weather will allow the team to get the running they need. He and Glock have logged just 106km on the car in the group tests so far. Red Bull and Force India – the other two newcomers to this week’s test – have each completed well over 800km.