The countdown to the 2011 season starts as Marussia Virgin Racing get down to business in Valencia for the first official test of the year. The team came in action today with the 2010 car as the new MVR-02 will only be unveiled on Monday.
Valencia is an unusual city as it has not just one, but two circuits approved for Formula One cars. The track in use this week is the 4.005 km long Ricardo Tormo circuit, located on the outskirts of Valencia, rather than the waterside venue used to host the European Grand Prix midway through the season. This will be the first time that the team has run a car here, and it will also be the last time that the 2010 car, the VR-01, will be on duty.
With the switch from Bridgestone to Pirelli, the team has opted to continue the process of tyre evaluation using the known behaviour of last year’s car, although some new specification parts will also be used during the three day test. The car will also run in last year’s livery for the test, which runs from February 1-3.
But it’s not just in Spain that the excitement is building. The team’s 2011 challenger, the MVR-02, will be revealed at the BBC Television Centre in London next Monday, and will then be shaken down during a private filming day at Jerez on Wednesday, before it is used for the first time in anger next Thursday as part of the second official Formula One test session.
Driver duties in Valencia will be shared by Timo Glock and Jérôme d’Ambrosio, who will be driving for the first time in his role as race driver with the team. Jérôme’s role may be new, but he is not short of experience with the car, having driven during the first free practice sessions at four Grands Prix last year, as well as during the post-season tests at Abu Dhabi.
Jérôme D'Ambrosio had this to say before suiting up today: “Being a Formula One driver is what I’ve dreamed of and worked for ever since I can remember, so I’m really excited about the whole season. It’s been an amazing experience so far, working with the engineers and also with Timo. Now I just can’t wait to get some more miles under my belt. ”