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Page last updated at 15:56 GMT, Wednesday, 31 March 2010 16:56 UK

Virgin Racing chief Nick Wirth to pay fuel tank cost

Lucas di Grassi's Virgin car
Both Virgin cars did not finish the first two races of the season

Virgin Racing technical director Nick Wirth says his company will foot the bill for correcting the new Formula 1 team's fuel tank mistake.

Virgin, who entered F1 at the start of this season, will have to make major changes to the car after discovering that the fuel tank is too small.

"The chassis supplier is us - nothing to do with engine supplier or fuel supplier," Wirth told Autosport.

"We are fixing it for the team. We are not charging the team."

BBC F1 commentator Jonathan Legard revealed Virgin's error on Friday, at the start of the Australian Grand Prix weekend.

Virgin have asked the sport's governing body the FIA for permission to submit a new chassis for inspection after Wirth confirmed that the fuel tank is not big enough to get to the end of races.


It is understood that Virgin's fuel tank is about 13 litres too small to last a race distance and that the car could not reach the end of the next two races in Malaysia and China at full speed.

The modified car will not be ready until the fifth race of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix on 9 May.

Wirth's company, Wirth Research, designed the cars and the 44-year-old says he takes full responsibility.

"It's our responsibility to provide cars that can finish a grand prix," he said. "It's down to us."

The fledgling team had a torrid time upon their entry to the sport, suffering front-wing failure in testing and having continuing hydraulic problems.

Their drivers, Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi, have yet to complete the two races so far - the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and the Australian GP last weekend.

And Wirth says Virgin are also suffering with a fuel pick-up problem, which means the cars are carrying more fuel in qualifying which makes them heavier than their rivals.

"We've got problem after problem," added Wirth. "We're a new team, well, not so much a new team, but a new manufacturer to F1.

"It's us. It's not a team issue, it's us. We are not doing a very good job at the moment, particularly in qualifying, of picking up all the fuel."

The Malaysian Grand Prix takes place on Sunday, 4 April.

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see also
Lotus keen to silence F1 critics
31 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Button wins dramatic Australia GP
28 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Virgin hit by too-small fuel tank
26 Mar 10 |  Formula 1

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