Virgin Racing technical director Nick Wirth was delighted to see one of his cars come home as the first new entry in today's Malaysian Grand Prix, but reckons the team will take an even bigger step forward in Spain next month.
Lucas di Grassi overcame his reliability problems on Saturday to finish 14th today, ahead of both HRT cars and both Lotuses, although Timo Glock retired in the other Virgin.
"It was great," said Wirth. "All those issues we've had – hydraulics, gearbox – were under control. Very happy to finally get the thing over the line and get that monkey off our backs.
"It's been a good weekend, much better, and we'll build from here; it's a good platform. We think we can put some more things on the car for Shanghai, but then we're really looking forward to Barcelona and being able to race and qualify properly. We're hoping to bring some new aerodynamic parts for Barcelona – the car will look quite different. I hope all goes well with the new monocoque."
Wirth added that it was especially rewarding to prove his doubters wrong with Virgin's first finish of the year.
"A lot of skeptics were saying, 'Can we do it, can we build a car this way?' If you look at our performance through the weekend, it was pretty satisfying."
He is looking forward to continuing Virgin's battle with Lotus to be the best of the new teams and says things are looking positive in his camp.
"They [Lotus] are concentrating on their stuff, we're concentrating on ours. Clearly, they're bringing performance as fast as they can. We're not, because we're concentrating on reliability.
"It looks like it's going to be a great season. After all the pain and agony we've been through in the winter, for the staff, the sponsors, the investors and everyone in Virgin Racing, it's really satisfying."