Sheffield, Thursday: A somewhat sheepish Virgin Racing team have come out to explain why only one modified VR-01 chassis will be taking part in this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
The Yorkshire-based team hit the headlines earlier this year when they were forced to reveal that they had failed to build their cars with sufficient space to accommodate all of the fuel required to complete a Grand Prix distance, and have had to make complicated and expensive chassis modifications to rectify the fault.
Unfortunately, the team stated last week that only Timo Glock would benefit from the modified chassis in Spain, with Lucas di Grassi having to wait. Initially the team blamed the delay on the team’s difficulties in getting back from the Chinese Grand Prix after an Icelandic volcano scuppered their travel plans, but their new statement makes much more sense.
“We loaded Lucas’ chassis onto one of our trucks as usual, and sent it off towards Barcelona,” a Virgin spokesman revealed. “Unfortunately the truck in question, er, ran out of fuel halfway down the M1.”
Virgin’s transporters are not allowed to refuel in the UK due to the high price of fuel, and a “petroleum budget” imposed on the team by meddling, high-ranking officials with little knowledge of how the team operates.
Despite the setbacks, Virgin boss Richard Branson was quick to put a positive spin on things: “This is the perfect endorsement of Virgin’s commitment to making F1 green,” the bearded entrepreneur told reporters. “Lucas’ car has travelled only a fraction of the distance usually covered by an F1 car in transit to a race, with a corresponding reduction in carbon emissions.”
Meanwhile, teams at the Spanish Grand Prix are locked in discussions over whether a chassis that has been substantially redesigned and re-homologated can really be considered a Virgin at all.