F1 rookie Lucas di Grassi has had a huge crash on the grid formation lap, 20 minutes before the start of the Japanese grand prix.

F1 rookie Lucas di Grassi has had a huge crash on the grid formation lap, 20 minutes before the start of the Japanese grand prix.

The Brazilian's Virgin car speared into the barrier at Suzuka's famous 130R corner.

The Cosworth-powered chassis is heavily damaged, and given the lack of time and the absence of spare cars, di Grassi - who is unhurt - will obviously not be starting the race.

"We have no idea what happened," said an official on Virgin's official Twitter page, adding that teammate Timo Glock's sister car will be checked.

Team boss John Booth said the telemetry showed no technical fault occurred before the crash.

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Di Grassi crashes Virgin before race