Two teams likely to sit out Melbourne

Fri, 16 March 2012, 12:35

Mar.16 (GMM) Two teams are in danger of sitting out Sunday’s Australian grand prix.

“The idea, here, is to qualify for the race,” Marussia’s Timo Glock told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper from Melbourne.

The hurdle that the struggling former Virgin team – as well as HRT – must get over, is the 107 per cent rule in Q1.

It is an even higher hurdle than last year, because Pirelli has made its harder tyres softer in 2012 — meaning the difference between the tyres being used by the quickest cars and the slowest cars in Q1 will be smaller.

More bad news is that Red Bull has brought new parts to Australia that could make qualifying-specialist Sebastian Vettel even faster on Saturday.

“If that’s true then the qualifying test for us – with zero kilometres under our belts – is almost impossible,” admitted Glock.

At HRT, the situation is arguably worse — especially for Pedro de la Rosa, who was little more than a spectator on Friday as the Spanish team built up his Cosworth-powered car at the eleventh hour.

“Keep smiling, be patient,” he is quoted by Auto Motor Und Sport, when asked what his mantra is in Melbourne.

“We need to think more in the medium term. We are experiencing the birth of a new racing team.

“For us, this year is not just about getting the new car up and running — over the next months, we are taking the whole team to Madrid.

“At the moment we are still operating from Madrid, Valencia and Munich,” he explained.

The Spanish team’s new boss Luis Perez Sala agreed that qualifying at Albert Park is a big ask.

“For us it has been almost a success just to be here in Melbourne because it has been very tough,” he said on Friday.

As for the 107 per cent rule, “It will be difficult for us,” said the former Minardi driver.

“I’m not thinking now about the speed of the car, I’m just trying to get all the things done that we need to do as best as possible to get into (practice) tomorrow.”

He said HRT will try again next weekend, in Malaysia.

“I would like them (the team) to relax a bit and we will see. Malaysia? Shanghai? Whatever.”

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