If you are a fan of Avaro Parente then you’re not going to like this news. Virgin racing has signed Andy Soucek as their official test driver. Parente had the role when the team launched last December, but the Portugueseâ€™s deal collapsed when he lost backing from a key sponsor.
John Booth, Team Principal of Virgin Racing, commented:
â€œWe 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. We are pleased to have finalised our driver line-up and we look forward to having Andy alongside us in Barcelona later this week so he can spend some valuable familiarisation time with the team.â€
Booth may be happy about the appointment but Soucek is understandably elated. Andy Soucek commented:
â€œI am thrilled to be joining Virgin Racing. This role offers me a great opportunity to prepare myself for the Formula One 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 and Nick Wirth in particular for the faith they have shown in me at this stage in my career. It is exciting and very motivating to be part of a new structure in such a challenging sport and I hope that my experience can contribute a great deal to the development of the car and team in order to help us progress as quickly as possible.â€
Yet another move by Virgin that places them in the new role as a F1 team on the move. While other teams are struggling, Virgin is assigning roles, testing cars, cutting teeth and slowly becoming a part of the F1 landscape.