Andy Soucek has admitted that he is ready to immerse himself in a heavy workload to ensure that he makes the most of the opportunity he has been given by Virgin Racing ahead of the team's maiden Formula One campaign.

The Spaniard, who replaced Alvaro Parente as one of the British team's back-up drivers, could not say when he would get his first run in the new VR-01, but confirmed that he would be present at this week's final pre-season test in Barcelona before taking on his developmental role in the coming weeks and months.

"I am not 100 per cent sure yet [when I will test the car], but it will be very soon," he revealed, "I will be with the team in Barcelona later this week and I cannot wait to get my first experience in the car.

"Having previously tested with Toyota and, more recently, with Williams, it will be fantastic to drive another F1 car. I am excited to see and feel how the car behaves and then, hopefully, I will be able to assist the team in developing the car further. Coming into a team that is new on the grid is very exciting as you really feel that you can make a difference."

Having apparently lost his way after two seasons of GP2, Soucek took the bold step of trying to relaunch his F1 bid via the new F2 championship in 2009 and was rewarded by claiming the title. Despite that, however, he appeared to have missed out on several high-profile F1 seats before landing at Virgin, and admits that he is delighted to have finally made it to the top flight, even as a reserve.

As well as filling the back-up role, he will provide valuable car development support back at the team's technical base in Bicester, assisting in the ongoing simulator programme alongside race drivers Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi between grands prix.

"It feels great," he told the official F2 website, "I couldn't quite believe it, even as I was signing the contract. To have joined an F1 team and knowing that I could be competing in grands prix if I am required is a fantastic feeling.

"It will be a difficult job, but I know that I will learn a lot in preparation for racing in F1. One of the key aspects that excited me about this project is that I will be heavily involved with the team from the outset. I will get to use the simulator, I will be at every test and grand prix, and I will be in every meeting between the drivers and engineers, so I will be a real member of the team."

Soucek was, naturally, keen to thank the F2 series for the role it had played in helping him achieve his ambition, and heartily recommended it to other young talents.

"Winning the FIA Formula Two Championship, and the prize of a test drive in F1 really helped to raise my profile," he acknowledged, "I had some good results when I was in GP2, but it was only once I started winning in F2 that things really started to develop.

"Everyone knows that, in F2, it is the driver that makes the difference and I feel that my performance last year showed people I was good enough for F1. Of course, the prize was a massive boost as I got to show my abilities in an F1 car in Jerez. This experience went very well, but it would not have been possible if I hadn't succeeded in F2.

"I would recommend F2 to any young driver, and particularly those who do not have the big budgets required to compete in GP2. F2 is a great step towards F1 and it is a great place to learn. People say that it is difficult when you do not work with a team but it means the driver in F2 is responsible for every single detail. Of course, working with teams during your career is important, but in F2 you have to work extremely hard to achieve the most out of the experience and that is what I think makes F2 so special."

Soucek will continue to race in categories outside of F1, but has revealed that he would not be averse to stepping back into F2's recently upgraded Williams JPH1B should he be asked to do so

"I am actually testing the car in Barcelona, but this could be my last one before the new season," he confirmed, "If I am asked to test the F2 car again in the future, then I will always want to do it. I have enjoyed being part of the programme and, as a driver, it is always good to keep clocking up the miles. I will keep a close eye on the F2 championship this season and will try to attend any races that I can. If there is not a clash with my schedule, then it would be great to be at the final round in Valencia to see the new F2 champion crowned."