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Stranded Virgin faces development problems

ESPNF1 Staff
April 20, 2010 « Sauber not blaming Ferrari engines | »
Lucas di Grassi ponders more problems for the troubled Virgin team © Sutton Images

While Formula One teams spent the 24 hours after the Chinese Grand Prix looking for ways to get personnel and equipment back to their bases, the situation was of the most concern to Virgin which has been busily designing a new chassis to accommodate a fuel tank big enough to take its cars to the end of races.

The package, at an estimated development cost of £1 million, was due to debut in Barcelona in three weeks. But F1's hundreds of kilos of freight - including the two race cars driven by Lucas di Grassi and Timo Glock in Shanghai - are currently waiting at Shanghai airport while Formula One Management's six 747 jets are stranded in Europe.

Any significant delay may well mean Virgin's two race cars and spare monocoque might not be returned to its Yorkshire base in time for them to be modified for the new chassis package.

It is reported Virgin only has a single VR-01 monocoque already at the factory, so it is possible that either di Grassi or Glock could be forced to contest Spain next month with the too-small fuel tank still fitted.

The fuel tank is only one of the team's worries. Only in Malaysia did di Grassi make it to the finish, while Glock has not completed any.