Turkey F1 Grand Prix May 8 in Istambul a Race Among Red Bull, McLaren & Ferrari

Barry RosenbergContributor IIMay 4, 2011

Timo Glock works to help Virgin develop a competitive car.
Timo Glock works to help Virgin develop a competitive car.Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Virgin Racing (source: Planet F1.com)

While the Virgin Racing newbies struggle to find the way to make their cars competitive, the newbies at Lotus are clawing their way toward midfield.

Virgin boss John Booth laments the lack of progress through the first three races of 2011 and hopes their planned upgrades for Turkey show that their cars aren't total turkeys. He promises that there will be a “significant upgrade package” on Timo Glock's car and Jerome D'Ambrosio will enjoy some of the new elements in this weekend's Grand Prix. Competitive advances in Virgin will happen simultaneously with advances in all the teams, and that might well maintain the status quo with Virgin still yearning for its virgin points finish after Turkey.

Sebastian Vettel watches over his shoulder for McLaren, Ferrari, Renault and even Mercedes (source: Planet F1.com)

The youngest ever and current World Champion F1 driver, Seb Vettel has already cut himself a nice lead of 21 points over closest contender Lewis Hamilton of McLaren. Vettel's wins at Australia and Maylasia have him on top, and Hamilton's victory in China has him next in line for the 2011 season. While Seb's Red Bull and Lewis' McLaren provide a great show at the front of the grid, the usually fearsome Scuderia Ferrari has yet to put either Fernando Alonso or Filipe Massa on the podium. In fact ,the famous red cars have yet to even qualify on the second row on the grid. Vettel shows the wisdom of his growing experience when he remembers last season.

"There is still a long way to go in the season and a lot can happen," he reminded German Press Agency dpa. "Fernando Alonso is a good example. A lot of people had written him off last year, but he came back and nearly won the World Championship.

"That's why I think we should not lose sight of Ferrari, and Mercedes and Renault should also not be underestimated."

Vettel and teammate Mark Webber expect their Red Bulls to have reliable KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) working for them in Turkey in spite of its problems in the first three races of the 2011 season. This observer would expect them to be away and out of sight in short order if they have their KERS working, 'cause they flew like the wind without the push to pass 80 horsepower boost, even against the innovative movable rear wings.

If Lotus can avoid errors on Friday and Saturday in Turkey, Jarno Trulli expects to compete with the midfield teams. (source: Planet F1.com)

Lotus has shown evidence of improvement during the first three events of the current season and is hopeful of dicing with Williams and Sauber at midfield throughout the season. In the first race of 2011 at Australia, Trulli finished 13th, not far out of the points. At the last race, Trulli's team-mate Heikki Kovalainen came through ahead of both a Williams and a Sauber in China.

Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen said, "People talk about Turn 8 being the most hardcore bit of the track, but for me, it's not that big a challenge. Our car should be ok around the whole lap and after having had more time to work on the next update, which we'll see in Barcelona, the focus will be on getting the most out of the car in qualifying and showing the pace that we know is there over one lap."