Andy Soucek is confident he will get to drive the Virgin VR01 very soon after signing a contract to be the new team's reserve driver. The Formula 2 champion has joined Virgin Racing after Portuguese Alvaro Parente, originally expected to take that position, lost one of his backers.
Although Soucek will be working with the team in the upcoming Barcelona test, Virgin suggested the Spaniard is only going to work outside of the car. Despite that, and the Barcelona test being the last one before the start of the season, Soucek is hopeful he will get some running soon.
"I am not 100 percent sure yet but it will be very soon," said Soucek, who tested for Williams at the end of last year as a prize for winning the F2 title. "I will be with the team in Barcelona later this week and I cannot wait to get my first experience in the car.
"Having previously tested with Toyota and more recently with Williams it will be fantastic to drive another Formula 1 car. I am excited to see and feel how the car behaves and then hopefully I will be able to assist the team in developing the car further. Coming into a team that is new on the grid is very exciting as you really feel that you can make a difference."
With in-season testing banned, test drivers are unlikely to get much running unless the teams use them during Friday practice sessions.
Soucek still believes his work with the team will be valuable both for the squad and for himself. "It feels great," he added. "I couldn't quite believe it even as I was signing the contract. To have joined a Formula 1 team and knowing that I could be competing in grands prix if I am required is a fantastic feeling. It will be a difficult job, but I know that I will learn a lot in preparation for racing in F1. One of the key aspects that excited me about this project is that I will be heavily involved with the team from the outset.
"I will get to use the simulator, I will be at every test and grand prix, and I will be in every meeting between the drivers and engineers, so I will be a real member of the team."