Virgin Racing confirms Manor takeover and announces Lucas di Grassi for 2010

Lucas di Grassi will be F1's third rookie driver in 2010

Lucas di Grassi will be F1's third rookie driver in 2010

Virgin Racing has confirmed its long-expected take over of the Manor Grand Prix team for 2010.

And it has announced the team’s second driver will be Brazilian rookie Lucas di Grassi.

Di Grassi completes Virgin’s 2010 F1 driver line-up, joining Toyota refugee Timo Glock.

Di Grassi was runner-up in the GP2 championship in 2007 and placed third this year behind Nico H???lkenberg and Vitaly Petrov. He was previously Renault’s third driver and tested for the team at Jerez earlier this month.

Alvaro Parente will be the team’s test and reserve driver.

Brazilian fans will have two new drivers to cheer on in 2010 as Bruno Senna makes his debut for Campos. There’s still no sign of an F1 return for the disgraced Nelson Piquet Jnr, however.

With Felipe Massa returning for Ferrari and Rubens Barrichello switching to Williams there will be four Brazilians in F1 in 2010. By my reckoning the last time Brazil had that many drivers on the grid was the 2004 Italian Grand Prix, when Barrichello and Massa were joined by Antonio Pizzonia and Ricardo Zonta.

Update: Virgin Racing have launched their official website.

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Image (C) Alastair Staley / GP2 Series Media Service

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62 comments on Virgin Racing confirms Manor takeover and announces Lucas di Grassi for 2010

  1. DanThorn said on 15th December 2009, 10:24

    Sounds good. He’s been a bit up and down in GP2 but overall very promising. He doesn’t seem like the kind of driver who’s going to stuff it in the barriers every other race either.

  2. Is this the first time in F1 history that a team is having 2 rookies at the helm and that too a new team ?

    We can now find out who is faster of both of them, Bruno or Grassi ?

    What say guys ?

  3. iceshiel said on 15th December 2009, 10:41

    Red and grey colour scheme? So boring!

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 15th December 2009, 10:45

      Uh, that’s the logo of Racing Engineering, a very successful GP2 team that Di Grassi drove for.

      If their official website – http://www.virginracing.com – is anything to go by, they’ll be black with white and red.

      Very flashy site, by the way. If they’re this stylish when 2010 comes around, I’ll be a happy man.

  4. Good or rubbish, who cares.
    Rock and roll F1 is back.
    Jordan F1 is dead. Long live Virgin Racing!!

  5. Here is 1 more question .. if Merc signs Michael then for which team would Heidfield drive?
    It may happen that both him and Kubica may drive for Renault nexy year.

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 15th December 2009, 10:54

      Who cares? This is about Virgin, not Heidfeld. There’s a discussion forum for that.

      • Icthyes said on 15th December 2009, 11:16

        PM, why the attitude? With Schumacher possibly coming back, the closing of the second Virgin seat may impact on where Heidfeld goes. It may not be directly specific to the article’s title, but it is a relevant tangent.

    • Heidfeld could stay with Sauber.

  6. ajokay said on 15th December 2009, 10:54

    I thought Virgin might tie-in their new F1 team with their new space tourism venture. A white, black and blue livery with the sponsorship of Virgin Galactic would look very sexy indeed.

    I’m hoping for a ‘Virgin Girl’ noseart on the nosecone like their planes sport.

  7. The latest driver predictions

    1.Button Mclaren
    2.Hamilton
    3.Nico Rosberg Mercedes
    4.Michael/Heidfield
    5.Vettel Red Bull
    6.Webber
    7.Massa Ferrari
    8.Alonso
    9.Barrichelo Williams
    10.Hulkenberg
    11.Kubica Renault
    12.Kobayashi
    13.Sutil Force India
    14.Liuzzi
    15.Buemi STR
    16.Jaime
    17.Trulli Lotus
    18.Kovvi
    19.Bruno Senna Campos
    20.Petrov
    21.Glock Virgin
    22.Grassi
    23.Heidfield(if no Merc) Sauber
    24.Fisichella
    25.Villenuv USF1
    26.Bourdais

  8. When was there a Portugeezer last in F1? Pedro Lamy?

  9. I wonder if there is any chance of Anthony Davidson getting a seat now. I think Manor/Virgin was his best chance with them being a British team. Maybe he could end up at Sauber or USF1, but there are not too many places left for next season now and i’m starting to think he will be back in the BBC commentary box next season.

  10. There’s a fair amount of new young blood in F1 for 2010. It should make for interesting racing next year.

    I wonder what sort of ‘long term’ commitment Virgin have in mind for this new project as they can sometimes be a little fickle or others may say astutely ruthless in their new business adventures…

  11. sumedh said on 15th December 2009, 11:51

    Good for Virgin Racing

    @Keith: On a separate issue, at the start of the season, you had asked for a number of predictions from all the readers. There were around 20 questions, “Who will score more points, Kimi or Felipe”, “Will Felipe win Turkish GP”, “Who will win the WDC and WCC” and so on..

    Can we bump up that particular post? It will be cool to reflect back on what all went wrong :-) or right :-)

    • Dougie said on 15th December 2009, 17:03

      @Keith: On a separate issue, at the start of the season, you had asked for a number of predictions from all the readers. There were around 20 questions, “Who will score more points, Kimi or Felipe”, “Will Felipe win Turkish GP”, “Who will win the WDC and WCC” and so on..

      Can we bump up that particular post? It will be cool to reflect back on what all went wrong :-) or right :-)

      Here you go…

      • sumedh said on 15th December 2009, 19:09

        Thanks :-)

        But I want to bump it up, so that everyone can see. I just saw mine, horrendous predictions those are.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th December 2009, 22:56

      Coming up here shortly…

  12. BT52/B said on 15th December 2009, 12:24

    Thanks for the report Keith, although the last time Brazil had four drivers was actually in Brazil 2004. The record was 5 drivers in the 2001 Canadian Grand Prix.

    In Brazil they are reporting that Virgin will not develop their car in the wind tunnel and will instead use Computational fluid dynamics (or CFD) to design, similar to what some Le Mans team have done (and rather sucessfully). Has a Formula One team ever attempted this? Does it help cut costs, and furthermore, will it work?

  13. Robert McKay said on 15th December 2009, 12:48

    Quite a nice looking line-up. Am a fan of Glock, and think it’s quite brave that he’s taken on a new team when it looked like Renault were waiting for him (although the uncertainty there may be best avoided). And am glad to see di Grassi come through, quite liked him in GP2.

    Overall this is probably my early favourite of the new teams, although I’d have preferred not to see Branson there to be honest and for it to still be “Manor”.

    The no wind-tunnel thing could prove either genius or suicidal.

    • Invoke said on 15th December 2009, 17:12

      I doubt it is solely down to hardware, as far as I know BMW had their own dedicated supercomputers for CFD as well as great wind tunnel facilities and look what happened…

      I think it’s down to how you use the resources you have, and if you can identify & develop the areas of the car that will prove most effective that bring’s success. Not simply the power/size of your supercomputer/wind tunnel.

  14. TommyB said on 15th December 2009, 13:01

    Cool logo but looks like we’ll be in for another boring red and white colour scheme

  15. Penelope Pitstop said on 15th December 2009, 13:27

    Virgin is definitely my pick of the new teams.

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