Newcomers Virgin are out to show that teams do not need to spend a large fortune to achieve success in Formula One. The team owner Richard Branson, speaking at the final session of pre-season testing in Barcelona, said: "I think the one thing the Virgin team will prove is that you can have a really good racing team, running very fast, within a very tight budget. "There is no need to do massively expensive wind tunnel testing, or all the other things that they do to get the extra second or two."
Branson added: "It will show the other F1 teams that they could reduce their budgets to the limit that was planned for this year but has been delayed. And have just as much fun. "You don't need to spend hundreds of millions to have fun. You can do it within a cap and people can have just as much fun, and it will be just as exciting out there on the grid." Virgin's drivers, Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi, failed to make much of an impression on the established teams in testing in Barcelona, coming in around five seconds shy of the best times.
The 2010 season gets under way in Bahrain on March 14 and testing finished last night with McLaren-Mercedes at the top of the timesheets. Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, was the fastest man around Barcelona as he clocked a time of 1min 20.472secs. That was fractionally quicker than Ferrari's Felipe Massa, the Mercedes GP of Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull and the Williams of Rubens Barrichello. The quintet were separated by just four tenths of a second.
* With agencies