Parente Loses Virgin Test Role Due to Sponsor Quit
We're talking about the Tourism Institute of Portugal, whose representatives confirmed will not supply Parente with the necessary funds to continue his career in motor racing through the 2010 season. Meaning the Portuguese driver will not only fail to stay at Virgin Racing as a reserve driver, but also abandon his plans to return to a full-time drive in the GP2 Series also.
“After agreeing to everything they fell off and didn't commit. It was already very late, so I am a bit in the s***. I'm just trying to get something sorted for this year but I have no budget now, so it's crazy,” said Parente in an interview with British magazine Autosport.
“I have some propositions to do some GT Open races, and we've had some contact with Superleague. Nothing is confirmed. But it wasn't what I wanted. Formula 1 was always the main objective, so we'll see what happens,” added the 2005 British Formula 3 champion.
Under the circumstances, it seems Brazilian racer Luis Razia will stay as sole test driver of the team for the season to come, a duty that he'll fulfill in parallel with his GP2 commitments. Virgin Racing is yet to issue a statement on the matter, but it's unclear whether they'll sign another test driver or stay with Razia for their maiden F1 campaign.
Despite their test driving roles with the team, there was close to zero chances of Razia or Parente to see the inside of the VR-01 on a race circuit anyway, as the team will likely use all the Friday practice sessions to gain data on their single-seater through its 2 race drivers, Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi.