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On the Grid: Virgin Racing
The only Russian team on the grid
Posted Aug 16, 2011 by Chris White
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The only Russian team on the grid, Virgin Racing made their debut in the Formula One world championship in 2010. In November of that year, Russian sports car manufacturer Marussia took a controlling stake in the team, changing their name to Marussia Virgin Racing.
The team was originally formed as Manor Grand Prix as Manor Motorsport and Wirth Research joined forces, with Alex Tai as the Team Principal and Graeme Lowdon as the Director of Racing. In under a month of the news that Virgin had entered into partnership with the team, Tai left his position and was replaced by John Booth.
Virgin Racing use engines supplied by Cosworth and helped launch the careers of two of the most illustrious names in formula one in recent years – Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen – through their participation in Formula Three, for which Manor Motorsport are better known.
The team were blighted by technical issues throughout their debut season, with Timo Glock and Lucas Di Grassi the men chosen to drive. The team recorded its first double finish at the Spanish Grand Prix as things started to improve, but finished bottom of the constructors’ championship, as Di Grassi’s best finish of 14th in Malaysia and Glock’s 14th in Japan, was worse than the best finishes of drivers of Lotus Racing and Hispania Racing.
So far in 2011, the team is yet to score any points, but Jerome D’Ambrosio, the man who has replaced Di Grassi has only failed to finish in one race, while Glock has had one retirement and failed to start the race in Turkey – as was the case in the previous year.