F1 News: New Reserve for Virgin Racing, Changes in Staff at Force India


What Happens In the Calm Before the Storm

12:02am EST — In what might be considered to the a calm before the storm of testing in Barcelona this week and the ever-decreasing run-up to the season’s first race in Bahrain (sixteen days to Friday practice!), the only news of the day was an announcement that Andy Soucek will replace Alvaro Parente as the Virgin Racing reserve driver and a restructuring at Force India, with Mark Smith replacing technical director James Key.

Soucek Named Virgin Racing Reserve Driver:
According to the official Formula1 website, 2009 Formula2 champion Andy Soucek is the new reserve driver for Virgin Racing.  The young Spaniard drove for Williams at the young drivers test last year, and he noted in the article, “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.”  Soucek replaces the previously announced Alvaro Parente who lost his position, as Parente said in an Autosport article on February 18th, “After agreeing to everything they [the Tourism Institute of Portugal, who were his previous sponsors] fell off and didn’t commit. It was already very late, so I am a bit in the s***.”

Force India Makes Technical Staff Changes:
Force India technical director James Key has left the team in order to “pursue new opportunities,” according to an article on the ITV website.  He has been replaced by design director Mark Smith.  Key had been with the team as technical director for five years, but was a team member since 1998.  His statement included the following, ““I have spent the majority of my motor racing career within the team and although a difficult decision I felt the time was right for me to move on to new opportunities.”  ITV also noted that “Smith was one of the first Jordan employees when the squad was founded in 1991 and after rising through the ranks to become its chief designer returned to the team under Force India ownership in late 2007 following stints at both Renault and Red Bull.”

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1 Comment

  1. With regards to Campos/USF1/Stefan status, we are in “darkness before the storm” now. The clock is ticking.


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