While the majority of the F1 teams have been occupied trying to get their team members back home to Europe, the Icelandic ash that has enveloped Europe from last week’s volcano eruption could be hardest felt at Virgin Racing.
Having gained FIA clearance to design a new chassis to accommodate a fuel tank large enough to see its cars get to the end of the race, the revised chassis’ were due to make their debut at the next round in Spain.
However, the entirety of all twelve teams’ freight – including all of the race cars – is stranded in Shanghai while the six Formula One Management Boeing 747s are stuck in Europe, unable to take off.
This could potentially mean that the Virgin cars, including a third spare monocoque, might not be returned to the team’s Yorkshire HQ in time – if indeed, at all, before they have to be shipped to Barcelona – to be modified to fit the larger fuel tanks.
It’s understood that the team has single VR-01 chassis already modified at the factory, meaning that either Lucas di Grassi or Timo Glock could be forced to compete in the Spanish GP with no hope of having enough fuel to finish.
In fairness, Virgin Racing’s so-far atrocious reliability record would negate the need for a full tank of fuel!
With just 329km raced so far, Timo Glock has barely completed the equivalent of a single race distance in the four rounds of the season. Lucas di Grassi sits little better, at 488km completed – most of this was achieved at the Malaysian GP, the team’s sole race finish to-date.