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Virgin Racing team principal John Booth is upbeat about the progress his outfit can make in 2012

John BoothVirgin Racing team principal John Booth is hopeful that his outfit will finally be able to make a move up the grid in 2012, on the back of the technical overhaul it undertook this year.

As well as signing a partnership deal with McLaren, which includes use of the team's wind tunnel and simulator facilities, the outfit is now being guided by experienced engineer Pat Symonds.

Speaking at a press conference in Paris on Tuesday, Booth said that the involvement of Symonds and McLaren were key to allowing him to believe that the outfit could make good gains in 2012.

"Obviously our goal is to move further up the grid," he said. "We fulfilled part of our expectation this year, when we were much more reliable with the operational side of the team.

"That area improved a tremendous amount, and it was plain to see that we did not move up the grid as we hoped and expected. So for 2012 that is our challenge.

"The first parts of the new car are coming through. The design is headed up by Pat Symonds and other areas are in partnership with McLaren. So we are excited and hopeful we will move forward. I am very confident."

Booth said the team, which famously launched with a car that had been created wholly in CFD, had already been into McLaren's wind tunnel facilities twice with its 2012 challenger.

Speaking about new recruit Charles Pic, Booth conceded that the early part of the season would be a challenge for the Frenchman because of the limited track running he will get in the build-up to the campaign.

"We are very hopeful for the future with Charles," he said. "He did a wonderful job in Abu Dhabi [at the young driver test] and we pushed him pretty hard there.

"We had a few problems with the car, so he had to show a lot of patience and determination - but his race simulation was fantastic and his feedback was first class.

"That is one day in F1 and he has a lifetime of F1 in front of him. But it will be particularly difficult for him in 2012 because there are only three tests before the season, so that is six days for Charles and six for Timo [Glock].

"When Charles comes to the grid, he will have had a total of seven days testing: so he has to be prepared to make the most of that running."

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Symonds takes on Virgin role