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?â??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. sumedh said on 15th December 2009, 13:31

    Now Glock says: Schumacher will be back.

    This is really getting out of hand. Make the announcement already!!!

  2. mp4-19b said on 15th December 2009, 13:46

    Surprised. Thought he’ll go to Campos. But does it make any difference? I think all new teams will struggle. Keith, who do you think will be the worst among the new comers?

    Just to make things interesting, can’t we have something like a intra-championship? I mean it was done before during the phasing out of the turbo era.

    A Colin Chapman trophy was awarded to all the team that ran normally aspirated engines.

    Something similar, just to add interest, cuz I highly doubt any of the new teams will get into the points.

    • luigismen said on 15th December 2009, 18:36

      I think the better ones will be Lotus with Trulli and heikki, I’d put my money on them

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th December 2009, 22:57

      We haven’t heard much from USF1 so far, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything at this stage. Virgin’s no wind tunnel approach is a heck of a risk.

      • Maksutov said on 18th December 2009, 5:06

        Virgin’s no wind tunnel approach is a heck of a risk.

        I agree. Unless they have a very sophisticated fluid dynamics modeling software that nobody knows about (which i doubt). Even so, modeling of turbulence in 3D is extremely difficult.

  3. Would have loved it if D. Patrick were a Virgin…….. pilot ;-)

  4. I think it is a good line-up, probably what I expected a new team to do, have one experienced driver and one rookie.

    I don’t think it is as good as the Lotus line-up simply because they have two experienced drivers.

    I think there was a forum article about possible innuendo with the new Virgin team, how about the Autosport headline

    Branson: Virgin can go all the way

  5. All the new teams are ‘Virgins’, aren’t they? Pun aside, most of the new teams will struggle, but they should soon find their feet. If they can’t, then they will just go the way of Simtek, Forti, Pacific, Eifeland etc. But overall, a bigger grid with more privateer teams in the mould of Williams can only be a good thing.

  6. Searchandfound said on 15th December 2009, 16:26

    I think the best driver is the third driver, the Portuguese Alvaro Parente. He is an impressed fast driver and know how to fit the car. Unfortunately, he don’t get the necessary money to be one of the first drivers. For sure he will develop quite well the car.


    Haha, I dunno if that will be enough Richard.

  8. Daniel said on 16th December 2009, 0:52

    You forgot to mention other brazilian, Luiz Razia, was named the second test driver…

    He had one full season in GP2, with a win from pole at Monza Sprint Race, but failed to score for the rest of the season…

    He had a similar performance on 2008-2009 GP2 Asia, with a win from pole in Bahrain 2 Sprint Race, and very poor results on the rest…

  9. wasiF1 said on 16th December 2009, 1:43

    I don’t want Nelson Piquet JR to return.

  10. virgin have so much money to just spend. i think they should of got a head start and tried to buy schumacher into the team :P

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