JOHN Booth, the team principal of Marussia Virgin Racing, reckons tyre strategy will play a pivotal role in the Hungarian Grand Prix tomorrow.
Virgin drivers Timo Glock and Jerome d’Ambrosio finished 21st and 22nd respectively in the first and second free practice sessions in Budapest.
“This weekend the tyres are going to play a big part and this will also influence the decisions we take,” said Booth. “It’s clear that our pace is not quite what we’ve been used to for the last few races, so we need to try to add some significant performance to the cars overnight.”
Glock added: “The main issue at the moment is the tyres as they are proving to be quite difficult to handle this week.”
A steering set-up issue prevented d’Ambrosio from setting a time in the final quarter of an hour of the morning sessions. It meant the young Belgian completed just 22 laps of the Hungaroring track while Glock went around the circuit 30 times.
In the afternoon, Glock added another 33 laps to his tally while d’Ambrosio completed 28 laps.
However, the reality is Virgin remain more than a second slower than Team Lotus. Unless it rains during qualifying today, it is unlikely Virgin will get in front of their rivals.
It was Lewis Hamilton, who won in Germany last weekend, who set the fastest time, finishing a quarter of a second quicker than Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso with a lap of one minute 21.018 seconds, with McLaren team-mate Jenson Button third fastest.
n Bernie Ecclestone is convinced he has secured maximum exposure for Formula One in the United Kingdom in light of today’s announcement regarding a new television deal.
From next year, Sky Sports will screen all practice, qualifying and grands prix live, whilst current broadcasters the BBC will now show 50% of the races, with the remainder aired via a deferred highlights package. The BBC has made no secret of the fact a new deal has been struck to save money on the remaining two seasons of their £40million-per-year contract with Ecclestone’s Formula One Management.
Ecclestone said: “This is good for Formula One.”