Virgin hope to speed up with new upgrade

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MARUSSIA Virgin Racing are expected to introduce a new car performance upgrade at the Italian Grand Prix which will make them half a second quicker on track, The Star can reveal.

Team principal John Booth says the modifications at the rear end of its MRV-02 cars will make the Dinnington-based outfit more competitive. Virgin, along with fellow 2010 startups Team Lotus and HRT Hispania, have yet to pick up a Formula One point.

The package includes a new engine cover, sidepods, exhaust, rear floor and a brand new wing.

Booth said: “We are hoping to have an update for Monza but, if not, we will definitely have one for the Singapore Grand Prix.

“It should give us something in the region of half a second and that would be a massive step in the right direction. It would move us further away from HRT and push us towards Team Lotus if they have a bad day. We almost decided not to do anything with this year’s car and concentrate on the 2012 car but the results have been so good in testing that we decided we would make the effort.”

Initially, Virgin planned on making the revisions to the car at the British GP but the upgrade had to be delayed in the wake of its well-documented operational reshuffle.

Booth said: “We had an update in the pipeline for Silverstone, and we sidelined it because we did not think it was worth the effort at the time.

“But as Pat (Symonds) got to grips with the CFD evaluation of it, and looked into it a bit deeper, he thought it was well worth doing, so he pressed the button on that.”

Rotherham-born Booth added: “It (the upgrade) will pull the whole back of the car in much tighter. That has not really interrupted our 2012 progress because much of the design work was done; it was just a question of tidying it up and accommodating it.”

The Indian Grand Prix remains on course to make its debut after FIA safety delegate Charlie Whiting claimed his latest track inspection “exceeded expectations”.

The race is scheduled to take place in eight weeks’ time on October 28-30, and has yet to receive its safety certificate due to ongoing work at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi.

However, the organisers appear poised to deliver according to Vicky Chandhok, father of Lotus reserve driver Karun, and president of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India.