Former team boss turned pundit Eddie Jordan says the biggest challenge facing long-time friend John Booth and his Virgin Racing team is to survive in F1 this season before looking to make progress in 2011.
Booth's Manor team is one of three new teams to have joined the grid this season, running under the Virgin banner after a tie-up with Sir Richard Branson, but has endured a difficult year to date with numerous technical issues for both Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi.
That has prevented the team from closing the gap to the established teams ahead – and has also allowed Lotus to break away as best of the newcomers – and Jordan warned that people will get impatient when to Virgin making improvements.
"People are forgiving of Virgin now, they realise how tough a job it is, but nevertheless, people are impatient," he told the Yorkshire Post
. "They have a window of understanding, but there is a lot of pressure on the team. They're not close enough now but you have to be positive and be supportive of the team.
"It's so important to Formula 1 to have these teams. I get really upset when they're referred to as B teams by some people.They deserve to be there, they met the criteria and were accepted by the FIA.
"Nick Wirth has a big job on his hands. They have got to show the racing public that they are developing the car because record books and stop watches never lie – Virgin are off the pace. As much as I am desperately keen for them to do well, they need to up their game and get closer to the chasing pack."
Jordan added that the most important thing for the team was to survive the remainder of the season and to emerge as the best of the newcomers because of the financial rewards that will entail.
"I'm concerned about sponsorship because that is 100 per cent the battle John and the team are faced with," he said. "How long is Sir Richard Branson going to be around for? He is one of Britain's, in fact the world's, leading entrepreneurs, but they don't seem to be attracting new sponsors to the team.
"I'm aware how tough it is, I've been there, and let's hope they do attract big sponsors. They need to finish tenth in the constructors' championship. If they don't get that tenth place, it puts a huge, huge burden on the team this winter.
"I spoke with John recently, he knows that this year is about surviving. There's no point being a bankrupt hero. If they survive this season and kick-on next year, then not many people will remember the struggles they had in year one.
"People often ask me what was my best result in Formula 1 and expect me to recall the race in Spa when we finished first and second. But that's not it. The biggest success I had in Formula 1 was surviving."