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Virgin Racing's F1 pit tour

We went behind the scenes with the Virgin Racing team at the Melbourne Grand Prix in its unsuccessful attempt to nab some Formula One points.

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Derek Fung
Derek loves nothing more than punching a remote location into a GPS, queuing up some music and heading out on a long drive, so it's a good thing he's in charge of CNET Australia's Car Tech channel.
Derek Fung
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1 of 11 Joseph Hanlon/CNET Australia

Feel 'em

We went behind the scenes with the Virgin Racing team at the Melbourne Grand Prix in its unsuccessful attempt to nab some Formula One points.

Our guide began our pit tour with the tyre warmers that are used by all Formula One teams as the cars' tyres provide little to no grip when they're cold.

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2 of 11 Joseph Hanlon/CNET Australia

Are they ready yet?

Each stack of pre-warmed tyres lives on a trolley that makes moving them around easier. They each also have this nifty temperature gauge.

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3 of 11 Joseph Hanlon/CNET Australia

Spreadsheet manager

Each F1 race car is wired up with sophisticated telemetry that allows all vital diagnostic information, from temperatures to speeds and g-forces, to be sent in a constant stream from race car to pit lane, where engineers, team management and strategists mull over the figures, trends and graphs.

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4 of 11 Joseph Hanlon/CNET Australia

Check, check

Lucas di Grassi checks a few things on his race car prior to Saturday's qualifying session.

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5 of 11 Joseph Hanlon/CNET Australia

Supporting role

Teams in pit lane await the beginning of the second race of this weekend's Australian GT Championship event, one of the many support events that's run on Formula One weekend at Melbourne's Albert Park track.

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6 of 11 Joseph Hanlon/CNET Australia

On a wing and a prayer

The cars' nose and front wings are detached as the Virgin Racing team perform last minute preparations for qualifying.

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7 of 11 Joseph Hanlon/CNET Australia

Open for inspection

One member of the pit crew lubes the car, while another inspects the brakes.

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8 of 11 Joseph Hanlon/CNET Australia

TV review

When sitting in the stands, most of the action occurs out of sight, hence the need for large screens. High fences are required to keep crash debris from impaling spectators.

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9 of 11 Joseph Hanlon/CNET Australia

A brother's view

Our view from the Schumacher stand provided fantastic views of the turn leading into the main straight, as well as the turn off into pit lane.

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10 of 11 Joseph Hanlon/CNET Australia

Dude fest

No doubt the F1 fan base skews decidedly male, hence the installation of a pole dancing pole in the main bar.

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11 of 11 Joseph Hanlon/CNET Australia

Access denied

Guess we won't be visiting this garage then. Joseph Hanlon attended the Australian Formula One Grand Prix as a guest of Virgin Mobile.

For the record, both Virgin Racing cars had to retire due to mechanical failures.

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