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Virgin Racing confirm Lucas di Grassi for 2010 - A driver announcement, a new website and a duel

Published by Christine

Whilst unveiling their new logo and their 'surprise' new name, Virgin Racing confirmed that Lucas di Grassi will join them for next season, alongside Timo Glock.

The team officially launched today at Notting Hill in London, with both drivers present. Glock joins the team from the now-defunct Toyota, whilst di Grassi moves from Renault tester to full time race drive, after performing at the young driver test in Jerez earlier this month. Until now the team has operated under the name of Manor GP but the FIA gave the change away with the release of the 2010 entry list last month.

Speaking at the launch, Richard Branson was keen to stress the extremely tight operating budget the team will be working under:

It will run under the £40 million a year that is set in F1, and all teams within two or three years are meant to get to that level. But money is not everything and we are determined to prove that through engineering prowess, great drivers and great affinity with the public we can do well.

Timo Glock was announced as the team's lead driver in November and he appears to be relishing the chance to work with a smaller outfit:

I realised that if you had the right people then you don't need 600 - you just need a proper group and proper engineers. Everyone focused, no political stuff in the team and that is the main point that you need in a team to be successful. The fun part, with Virgin, with Richard Branson, and with all the people behind will be mega in 2010 - the hospitality or whatever will be a bit different to normal.

Lucas di Grassi is looking forward to finally getting his break in Formula 1. Speaking to Autosport Lucas said:

F1 is a different level from GP2, it's a different level from F1 testing, so I have to adapt and prepare myself as best as I can to have a long and successful career in F1, and that's what I'm aiming for.

Updated: The team also launched it's new website Virgin Racing which, features introductions to team personnel and covers the launch. Notably, eight partners are named with previous sponsor of the BMW team, FxPro, having opted to support Virgin Racing for 2010.

Richard Branson injected some fun into launch proceedings by challenging another new entrant Tony Fernandes to a duel:

He has an airline, we have an airline and if we beat him he can come and work on our airline as a Virgin stewardess.

Fernandes and Branson join Vijay Mallya as aviation entrepreneurs competing in Formula 1.