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Booth: We’re like night and day compared with 12 months ago

“We’re like night and day compared with 12 months ago” said Virgin Racing’s Team Principal and Director of Racing, John Booth, as his team make their last minute preparations before the 2011 Formula One season gets underway in Australia this weekend. “It’s very exciting to be heading to Australia this week to begin our preparations for the first race of the season.” Said Booth “It is disappointing for all that Bahrain was postponed but all the signs are that this was the right decision. The fact is that had we raced in Bahrain last weekend, we would have been a man down in the cockpit as Timo would still have been recovering from his appendectomy. Thankfully he’ll be fighting fit for next weekend, so the last minute change to the calendar has worked in our favour.” Speaking about the season opener in Melbourne this coming weekend, Booth continued: “Whilst it’s impossible to predict how any of the teams will fare once we all take to the track next Friday in the first real barometer of competitive performance, what I do know is this - as a racing operation we’re like night and day compared with 12 months ago. Last year we pushed too soon on car performance and it cost us in reliability terms as a result. This year we head to Melbourne with 4642kms of pre-season testing mileage under our belts and a much more reliable baseline to develop from.” “We fully expect the first few races to be challenging in terms of outright pace, but I’m comfortable that prioritising reliability and strategy will help our big picture and we’ll be in a much better place for the rest of the season. I’m looking forward to a more straightforward week of preparation leading up to the first race and to planning our opening race strategy in rather more calm circumstances than last year. Albert Park is a fantastic circuit that has produced some truly memorable racing and I hope we can do ourselves justice there.” Meanwhile, Virgin Racing driver, Timo Glock added that Melbourne is “an incredible place to start the season” “The Australian Grand Prix is one of the best races on the calendar and Melbourne is an incredible place to start the season.” Said Glock “I can’t wait to get out on track and be racing again. This will be the first chance we get to truly weigh up the competition and I think it is going to be quite interesting for all of the teams.” “Albert Park is a challenging track to get on top of. Because it’s a street circuit it takes a while to rubber in and there is very little grip on Friday. It’s quite a stop-start circuit so brake wear can be a factor. It is also quite bumpy and because the weather can change so quickly at this time of year the track conditions can vary with each session. I think the combination of this circuit together with the surprises we expect to see anyhow should make for an incredible season opener.” Speaking about his recent illness, which saw the German driver have an operation to remove his Appendix’s removed, he said: “The last three weeks have been less than ideal as I lost a lot of crucial track time. I spent a lot of time over the winter getting ahead of the curve with my fitness though and now I am thankful for that as I haven’t suffered as much as I could have. I’ve been doing a lot of cycling in particular and I’m pretty pleased with where I’m at, all things considered.”

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