Virgin part company with Wirth

Posted: June 2, 2011 in News
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Virgin felt the partnership was wirth-less

Virgin Racing today announced they would split from their technical designers following a disappointing start to the 2011 season.

Nick Wirth, head of Wirth Research, joined the team for their inaugural season last year but has been unable to propel the team off the back two rows of the grid.

His controversial decision to design the car purely from computer generated effects (CFD), rather than using a more conventional wind-tunnel, has ultimately proved unsuccessful.

“Over the past six months, Marussia and the board of directors have undertaken a comprehensive review in order to ensure that Marussia Virgin Racing has the strongest platform, team of people and resources in place to achieve its long-term ambitions,” explained the team’s CEO Andy Webb in a media statement to Formula 1’s official website.

“Marussia’s goal remains to be in a position to be able to challenge for a podium finish at the inaugural Russian Grand Prix in Sochi 2014.

“With this in mind, it is readily apparent that the team must take major steps in order to accelerate its rate of improvement.”

The CFD (Computer Fluid Dynamics) system is thought to have saved the company money at the expense of performance.

Team principal John Booth told the BBC that the lack of progress this year was the catalyst for change.

“What has been disappointing has been our pace,” he said. “It’s aero efficiency. We’re nowhere with it.”

Booth said that there was a possibility the team would consider a wind tunnel programme as long as it was within the limits of the team’s budget.

The move to split from Wirth Research comes following the arrival of ex-Renault technical director Pat Symonds in a consultancy role. Symonds is still technically banned from the sport following his role in the Singapore Crashgate scandal of 2008.

Virgin have yet to score a world championship point and finished bottom of the constructors’ standings last year – behind fellow newcomers Team Lotus and Hispania.

In 2010 the team initially designed a car with a fuel tank too small to carry enough fuel to finish a race.


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