Virgin Racing will only have one of its upgraded cars ready for this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, with plans to lengthen the fuel tanks on both cars wrecked by the recent volcano-caused travel chaos.
With the team having realized that the fuel tank on its VR-01 was not large enough to get it comfortably through all races, designer Wirth Research had embarked on an revamp plan to lengthen the cars for the Barcelona event. However, with the team having faced delays in getting its cars back from the Chinese Grand Prix because of the volcanic ash cloud, the team has been unable to modify both its chassis in time. With only one car ready, the team has elected to give the modified version to its more experienced driver Timo Glock.
Technical director Nick Wirth said: "Having worked tirelessly to prepare the new car for the race, including its successful re-homologation, it is a bitter pill to swallow that we are unable to complete the second car due to the 'volcanic delays.' Running two fundamentally different-specification cars at Barcelona will certainly challenge the team, but as the reliability fixes apply to both specifications, we'll keep our heads down and focus solely on getting both cars to the checkered flag."
Glock admitted that the challenge the team faced in operating cars to different specifications would be a tough one this weekend.
"The last few weeks haven't exactly gone according to plan thanks to the Icelandic volcano, but what this has enabled us to do is draw a line under the disappointment of Shanghai and focus on better things ahead," he said. "We have taken a good hard look at the first four races and now have a very clear picture of where things have gone well for us and where we need to improve.
"It's a shame that we couldn't bring two new modified chassis to Spain, because we would have had two sets of data to work from, but we will work with what we have and hope that it brings the kind of results we are hoping for."
Di Grassi added: "Though I'm disappointed that I will be driving the previous-specification chassis, as we didn't have enough time to modify two cars, I hope with all the work we've been doing to make our race weekends go more smoothly we can have a positive European debut."