Virgin Racing will only have one car with enough fuel to make the entire race distance in Barcelona after failing to build a second car with a large enough fuel tank.
Timo Glock will be the only driver in the team who can complete all 66 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday afternoon at full race pace.
The team claim that flight delays caused by the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull are responsible for this problem.
A smaller fuel tank may not prove a problem for Lucas di Grassi, Virgin’s other driver, as the team have only managed to get one car to the checkered flag from eight starts. Di Grassi had to slow by several seconds per lap as his car limped home in Malaysia.
Team Technical director Nick Wirth described the failure to get two revised cars ready for Barcelona as “a bitter pill to swallow”.
This is further embarrassment for Virgin Racing who, after the opening race in Bahrain, discovered that their fuel tank was not large enough to carry enough fuel for an entire race distance. The team has also had to endure numerous reliability issues during the first few months of its existence, including persistent hydraulic problems which affected their pre-season testing programme.
In a statement released by the team, the team boss Jean Booth explained the problems. “What should have been a useful three-week break in the calendar, and an opportunity to ensure we are fully prepared for the European season, turned into something of a race against time thanks to the fallout from “The Volcano”.
“It took up to five days after the Chinese Grand Prix before the entire team were back in England, so we had to rush headlong into preparations for Spain. The planned modifications to the chassis were always going to be our most significant development, but they were also the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we will bring to Barcelona.
Timo Glock also gets an aerodynamic upgrade for this weekend’s race, while di Grassi will only have some new parts on his car and not the whole package.