F1News: Virgin’s Launch Falls Apart, Force India to Launch Tuesday, Rumors of Valles to USF1

What Happens When a Team is Hoisted on Its Own Petard

12:14am EST — While the biggest news of the day was the final times set in the first test session of 2010 (Fernando Alonso was fastest in a Ferrari and other analysis available here), Virgin Racing also managed to make itself the butt of many a joke when its all-virtual car failed to launch virtually, Force India announced its own virtual launch, and rumors of Adrian Valles as USF1’s second driver made Adrian the new Sebastian on the F1 grid.

Virgin’s All-Virtual Design Fails to Launch Virtually:
It what became a Twitter contest amongst Formula1 journalists in Valencia for the end of the first test session of 2010, new team Virgin Racing has some serious technical issues for its virtual car launch Wednesday.  What appears to be a very pretty black and red and white car (which begs the random questions: aren’t my initials VR?  isn’t my design scheme black and red and a bit of white?), only appeared in a single picture on the team’s website for a good bit of time.  As The Guardian put it, “the team opted for a digital online launch on their website, only for gremlins to wreak havoc.”
Virgin Racing will have a “shakedown” at Silverstone Thursday and Friday and will appear at the nest test session at Jerez on February 10.

Force India Announced Launch Date, Just Before Second Test:
According to the official Formula1 website, Force India will also attempt an online launch (which might strike one as silly, with the inescapable fact that Virgin Racing’s online launch just failed and Ferrari’s streaming version also crashed just before Fernando Alonso began speaking) on February 9, the day before the second test session begins in Jerez.  “The car makes its official testing debut at Spain’s Jerez circuit” on February 10, published the site.

USF1 Driver Rumors Continue:
According to Spanish daily Marca, there may be another driver announced for USF1 in the near future.  The article (here in its original Spanish) says that “negotiations are well advanced and just need to finalize the details of a contract that aims to one year,” suggesting that USF1 and 23 year-old Spanish driver Adrian Valles “will close the deal in the coming hours.”  Valles was the official test driver in 2007 for Spyker F1, and has bounced back and forth between open-wheel racing and sportscar racing for the past couple of years, which appears to be a current trend in recent F1 drivers.   He was the 2009 champion in the Superleague Formula.  Valles also raced in GP2 and GP2 Asia in 2006, 2008, and 2009, though he changed teams mid-season in 2006 and missed a few races in 2008 to race in the Le Mans sportscar series and the 24 Heures du Le Mans.  While Marca can always be counted on to actively promote Spanish drivers, it generally has a finger on the pulse of Spanish involvement in motorsports.  This is still at the rumor stage, but reports are also circulating in South America that the “Made in America” team will end up being dominated by Spanish-speaking drivers.


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