Virgin Racing Felipe Massa
More testing in the diary: The Virgins were at times slower than the HRT competitors, and while Fernando Alonso managed to finish on the podium, team-mate Felipe Massa struggled and finished outside the points at Turkey

Both Ferrari and Virgin Racing – two teams seemingly struggling to deliver on pre-season expectations – will use one of their allocated days of straight-line testing ahead of next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, hoping to iron out the latest developments they have rolled out now that the European leg of the F1 championship season is underway.

Ferrari will head to the Vairano circuit for further testing of the upgrades it launched onto its F150 challenger, which helped Fernando Alonso net the outfit’s first podium of the season at last weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix. More Spanish Grand Prix upgrades will be fitted and evaluated in this test, which will be conducted by its test driver Jules Bianchi.

Bianchi had already assisted the team in a straight-line test at Vairano before the Turkish Grand Prix, and it had actually been scheduled that the team’s other development driver, Davide Rigon, would be in the car at this test.

However, the Italian suffered a badly broken leg in an accident in the GP2 sprint race on the Sunday of the Turkish Grand Prix, caused by his Coloni car being tipped nose-first into the pit straight wall by another competitor.

Virgin Racing, meanwhile, will use GP3 racer Adrian Quaife-Hobbs to carry out straight-line testing duties for the backmarker team at the Idiada circuit, and it will mark the first occasion that he will drive an F1 car.

The team introduced a heavily revised MVR-02 at the Turkish Grand Prix, but the anticipated performance improvement failed to materialise, and the team had to run with several of the updated parts being removed from the car.

For the first time in 2011, one of its cars was outqualified by Vitantonio Liuzzi in the HRT entry, leaving the team with plenty of work to do if it wants to remain off the back row of the grid.

[Images via Sutton Images]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.