Sheffield, Sunday: Reports from Yorkshire suggest that Virgin Racing’s lead driver Timo Glock could soon be relieved of his driving duties at the fledgling team, as they struggle to come to terms with fuel consumption problems.
The late switch to a lower-density fuel in late 2009 caught out the team, who found themselves entering the early races of 2010 with a fuel tank not big enough to comfortably complete many of the races. The team has received special dispensation from the FIA to modify its chassis in order to accommodate a larger fuel tank, but is looking into alternative solutions as well.
Among these is the prospect of hiring the shortest drivers possible, to reduce the amount of space required for the cockpit and therefore allow more room for a fuel tank. This idea was proposed after previous suggestions, such as carrying additional fuel in a bag on the driver’s lap, were rejected on safety grounds.
“It’s nothing personal against Timo, he’s been doing a fantastic job for us so far,” an anonymous Virgin source told us. “It’s just that we can only realistically ask him to carry on driving for us if he manages to make himself six inches or so shorter by the start of the European season.”
The team could not confirm or deny that talks were ongoing for a driver to replace Glock, though Takuma Sato has been seen near Virgin’s headquarters.
Glock himself was philosophical about the matter: “It’s quite ironic really,” he said, “as at my last team, if anything the cockpit was too big. Sometimes I found it difficult to reach the accelerator pedal.”