Lowdon sees bright future for Virgin

Virgin Racing sporting director Graeme Lowdon believes the growing frustration within the team has finally been eradicated.

Formula 1 News: Virgin Racing

In the weeks leading up to the current break in Formula One, Virgin made several announcements they hope has seen them turn a corner.

At the start of June Virgin ditched technical director Nick Wirth, claiming they wanted to seize greater control of their own destiny.

A month later the team announced a long-term technical partnership with McLaren, allowing them access to facilities such as test rigs, driver simulator and wind tunnel.

Then at the German Grand Prix just over a week ago, driver Timo Glock confirmed he had signed a new contract through to the end of 2014.

All of a sudden, a wind of change is blowing through the Dinnington-based squad, much to Lowdon's delight.

Speaking to Press Association Sport, Lowdon said: "There was a lot of frustration not so long ago, but there isn't now simply because of all of our recent announcements.

"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.

"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."

The McLaren tie-up, in particular, is of considerable significance, however Lowdon has warned people not to get too carried away.

With Virgin still searching for its first point in F1 with 30 races behind them, Lowdon feels the benefits of the McLaren deal will not be felt until next season.

"You could argue we are already seeing intangible benefits because there is a quite clear direction and optimism within the team," added Lowdon.

"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, but in reality it's going to be more next year.

"What this deal should do is compress timescales. Obviously McLaren can't design anything for us, and we can't take any components. The rules prevent that.

"This is about the transfer of knowledge of processes so we can speed up how quickly our engineers can come up with designs and implement them on the track.

"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."



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