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Soucek quits Virgin over breach of contract

ESPNF1 Staff
August 10, 2010 « Spa repeat unlikely, says Sutil | »
Andy Soucek says that Virgin has breached the terms of his contract © Sutton Images

Spanish driver Andy Soucek has terminated his contract as Virgin Racing's third and reserve driver, citing a lack of test driving opportunities this season.

The reigning F2 champion has not been behind the wheel of the VR01 machine at any grands prix so far this season although it is understood that his contract does stipulate some test-driving duties.

According to Spanish sports newspaper AS, Virgin has breached the original terms of his contract, leaving Soucek with no choice but to leave the team with immediate effect.

Soucek has reportedly made sponsor payments to Virgin in the region of €1 million, but has "decided not to pay any more due to the lack of opportunity to drive the VR01". He is now understood to be in talks with another team about becoming its third driver and hopes to reach a deal before the Belgian Grand Prix. Another option for him would be to join a top GP2 team.

Meanwhile, Virgin Racing technical director Nick Wirth says the team's goal is still to finish 10th in the constructors' standings although they currently lie 12th behind fellow newcomers Lotus and HRT. Although points are only awarded only to the top 10 finishers, non-point scoring teams are ranked according to their best finishes.

"We need that 12th place because our competitors were able to take advantage of circumstances earlier in the season and get some results," Wirth told Autosport. "We must keep putting performance on the car so that if such an opportunity occurs again we are able to take advantage of it. We'll keep pushing to the end and see what happens."