VIRGIN Racing’s future is bright, despite a frustrating 2011 Formula One season, according to sporting director Graeme Lowdon.
The Dinnington team’s series of announcements before the British Grand Prix, including their link with McLaren, and subsequent news on the retention of German driver Timo Glock, have given everyone a lift.
Lowdon, speaking to the Press Association, gave an insight into the atmosphere in the team earlier in the season.
“There was a lot of frustration not so long ago, but there isn’t now simply because of all of our recent announcements,” he said.
“It’s quite clear we had to do something because there was a risk that frustration would set in.”
“People in this team haven’t just landed into Formula One.”
“There are a lot of very experienced F1 people here.”
“They’ve come from successful teams, and whilst they believe in what we are doing, they want to see progress and move forward.”
A difficult start to the season, at least in terms of performance if not reliability, led to a split with technical partner Nick Wirth.
Lowdon said the move to link up with McLaren was necessary to stop the rot.
“There certainly was a risk if we weren’t making progress there would be some frustration.”
“Clearly we didn’t make as much progress this year as we wanted to, and that’s pretty well documented, so we had to make some changes.”
“But we’ve managed to retain that spirit and built on it, and now people can see there is a very credible future plan.”
“A lot of people have put a lot of hard work in to get the team here, and hopefully we’re looking forward to reaping some of the rewards as well.”
While the positive steps Virgin Racing have taken will not produce an improvement on the track until next season, Lowdon insists they have had an effect on morale.
“You could argue we are already seeing intangible benefits because there is a quite clear direction and optimism within the team,” he said.
“That has been reflected in Timo signing a long-term contract, but in terms of when will we see anything on the track? It’s going to be more the 2012 car than anything else.”
“Everyone wants to see immediate improvement, we’re already using certain processes and have learned certain things which we feel will help us this year, but we’re looking at more next year for improvement.”