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Virgil aims to 'turn corner' in Turkey
by Mathias Olaf Uncertain
4th May 2011
Isn't that Nick Wirth a tall chap?
Virgin Racing is either just the kind of underdog team that deserves your loyalty and support or the latest considered marketing ploy of that unashamed self-publicist Richard Branson, depending on your point of view.
The team is actually Manor Grand Prix in a new suit, since it was John Booth's team - which has enjoyed considerable success in junior single-seater categories since it was founded in 1990 - that was awarded a spot on the F1 grid for 2010. Before the FIA entry list was published in late 2009, however, Virgin had swooped in to become the title sponsor and install as team principal one of their own high-flyers, who was quickly replaced when it became apparent that he knew even less about racing than Flavio Briatore.
The team is therefore competing as Virgin Racing, which we keenly anticipate will lead to all sorts of unintended commentary box doubles entendres, along the lines of "that Virgin looks a bit of a handful in the wet", which is the sort of thing that amuses our little brains.
Manor is based in the UK in two sites: one in Sheffield and the other just next door in Bicester. In that regard, Manor has following the BMW-Sauber approach, although Manor's two sites are at least in the same country, and Booth is confident that his squad can emulate the success enjoyed by BMW, right up to the point at which they collapsed.
Bolstering the Manor workforce is experienced entrepreneur Nick Wirth, whose engineering company has no doubt done this, that and the other thing with varying degrees of success. For a couple of years he was the founder, owner and technical director of the Simtek F1 team, which achieved levels of performance suggesting that Wirth held most of the other positions there as well.
Wirth will shoulder the responsibility of producing the cars and his 2010 challenger is the first F1 car designed using solely CFD simulation technology - no wind tunnels here, thank you very much - so with that level of innovation behind them, it will be fascinating to see exactly how many seconds off the pace the car will be.
Drivers for the first season are Timo Glock, who shows every indication of being the new Nick Heidfeld (which isn't intended as completely insulting, even if it sounds like it is), and Lucas Di Grassi, who has a very nice line in world-weary abuse for other drivers when he's been punted off which we reckon he'll have plenty of opportunity to use.
TIGRA 16v: The tooltip with lowered suspension and a racing windscreen wiper
is hopeful the upgrades to be introduced by his team in the Turkish Grand Prix will help the squad to 'turn a corner' following a poor start to the season.
The announcement will no doubt come as an enormous relief to the Virgil drivers given that there are 14 corners to negotiate at Istanbul Park.
The team will have a major aerodynamic upgrade for this weekend's race, having admitted that the MVR-02 has not produced the downforce levels it was hoping for. The addition of a steering wheel is expected to come by Monaco at the end of the month.
In related news, the ailing MINI World Rally Championship team expects to get 'back on track' in Sardinia this weekend.
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Printed from dotdotdotcomma.com's F1 News page on Monday 20th May 2013 at 04:02:06 AM.
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