Glock adopts realistic approach

Timo Glock says Virgin has to remain realistic about how much of a relative step forward it can make with its second Formula 1 car – but thinks it can set its sights on catching the teams at the back of the midfield pack.
Virgin and fellow 2010 new teams Lotus and Hispania were cut adrift at the back of the field in normal conditions last season but the former two teams in particular are eyeing significant progress in their second campaigns.
Lotus has been particularly bullish about its prospects and has spoken about challenging the likes of Williams and Renault by the end of the year.
Asked at the launch of the new Virgin challenger on Monday if he was concerned that the ambitious Lotus outfit might pull away in 2011, Glock argued that the large gap both teams found themselves trailing the top squads by last year would be too large to bridge over one winter – therefore it was wise to set more achievable targets.
“It’s difficult to say, I just try to be realistic,” he told reporters on Monday.
“We were three to four seconds off the pace – sometimes even more – [last year] same with Lotus and I don’t think it’s just possible to catch up four seconds over the winter time or three [seconds].
“Realistically for us I think we should be two seconds behind the top teams, [which] would be great, maybe two and a half, and then close to the midfield teams – that’s the target.
“If Lotus is pulling away then they did a fantastic job over the winter. I think they’ve got different possibilities than us, different budget than us and a lot of experienced people from Toyota.
“So let’s see. I think our car looks quite a step forward, so I hope we are in front of Lotus at the end of the tests and the end of the year.”
None of last year’s newcomers managed to get near a points finish but Glock wants to see Virgin moving up on some of the grid’s more established teams with its new MVR-02.
However, after its debut campaign was beset by reliability problems, Glock admits that above all else he just wants to complete more mileage on a consistent basis from the car’s first test next week onwards.
“[An] Acceptable level would be very close to teams like Sauber, Toro Rosso, maybe Force India,” the German driver said.
“But being strong at the tests already, not in terms of performance, but in terms of making…. I just want to drive 800ks a day and I want to fall to bed and say ‘hey, I did enough today’ and it was not that the car broke down again.
“That’s what we have to make sure, that at the first test we have to hit the track and we have to drive, drive, drive and see where the bad points are on the car to already sort this out before the first race, because if it comes to the first race and you have a list of problems [that] you have and you cant sort it out you are already in trouble and you start on the back foot.”
Speculation at various stages of 2010 suggested Glock may have been seeking to leave Virgin and rejoin a more established team as his new employer struggled at the back of the field.
The former Toyota man admits there were various times when he called into his question his bold decision to move to the start-up operation, but says he never expected its first year to be easy and first 12 months proved to be a “character-building” experience.
“To be honest I had some thoughts about ‘bloody hell, what am I doing here’ because fighting the whole weekend and then you go into the race and after 10 laps you got a radio call ‘Timo, you have to come back to the pits’…it was just quite tough, quite hard,” Glock confessed.
“As well like races in Korea where we sorted out everything, we were quick, I was quick, in the wet conditions and [we were] just unlucky [to be] taken out by Sebastien Buemi.
“But that’s how racing is and that’s how a first year of a complete[ly] new F1 team is.
“It was a good experience for me, a good experience for the team, and character building and now we should be on a way to be in a better position.”

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