February 23, 2010
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Virgin Racing have announced that Formula 2 champion Andy Soucek has been signed as their reserve and test driver for the season.
Initially, this role was handed to Alvaro Parente, who is currently racing in the GP2 Series. He was the former 2007 World Series by Renault and 2005 British F3 champion. However, his sponsors, the Portugese tourism institute, pulled out, leaving him with no sponsorship.
This means that Soucek will join Luiz Razia in the reserve squad in Virgin Racing. Soucek said today:
“I am thrilled to be joining Virgin Racing. This role offers me a great opportunity to prepare myself for the Formula 1 environment, which is naturally where my longer-term ambitions lie.”
“I look forward to learning from Timo and Lucas as well as soaking up as much information as possible from engineering meetings and time on the simulator. I would like to thank John Booth (Team Principal) and Nick Wirth (Technical Director) in particular for the faith they have shown in me at this stage in my career.”
Team Principal John Booth added:
“We are delighted to welcome Andy Soucek to Virgin Racing. He had a very good season in Formula 2 last year and a positive F1 test with Williams. He is certainly someone we have been keeping a close eye on, as we believe he has a great deal of potential. We expect him to be a real asset to our development programme with the VR-01 and at the same time he provides the experience we need, should he be required to deputise for one of the race drivers at short notice.”
It has always been my belief that after winning the F2 title last year, Soucek would find a way into F1. The problem is, how is he going to get any track time? Testing concludes after the next 4-day session in Barcelona, so he won’t get any running all year. Hopefully we can watch him develop in this year’s F2 championship.