Volcano delay hits Virgin car change plan

London: Virgin Racing`s Brazilian driver Lucas di Grassi could risk running out of fuel in this week`s Spanish Grand Prix after volcanic ash flight delays meant the team could not complete modifications to his car in time.

The team have altered the chassis on the VR-01 car driven by Germany`s Timo Glock but delays caused by the recent flight chaos mean Di Grassi will drive the old version of the car as the European season begins.

Virgin discovered after the season`s opening race in Bahrain that the fuel tank was too small to finish all the races, though reliability issues have made the problem virtually irrelevant with only one finish so far.

The team`s technicians had hoped to use the three-week break between the Chinese Grand Prix and this week`s race to complete the re-modelling of both cars, including new aerodynamics, but many team officials were stuck in Shanghai for five more days.

"As a consequence, Virgin Racing will debut only one revised chassis in the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend, which Timo Glock will put through its paces," the team said in a statement.

Virgin`s technical director Nick Wirth said the delays had been frustrating.

"Having worked tirelessly to prepare the new car for the race... it is a bitter pill to swallow that we are unable to complete the second car due to the `volcanic delays`," he said.

Only Di Grassi has finished a race this season and on that occasion he was forced to slow down during the closing laps of the Malaysian Grand Prix to preserve fuel.

Bureau Report

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