F1 News, Views and Reviews

Wirth To Pay For Virgin Fuel Tank Upgrades

Nick Wirth, the head of Wirth Research the group behind the design of Virgin Racing’s VR-01 has said he will personally pick up the bill for the alterations needed to the fuel tanks of the cars in order for them to finish a Grand Prix.

With refuelling banned for the 2010 season, the cars are forced to run the entire race with the full fuel load.  However it emerged in Australia that the Virgin car did not have enough fuel capacity and as a result the entire chassis would need to be changed, an issue which will cost around £1.5million + and not be sorted until the Turkish Grand Prix.

The cars could use techniques used in Sportscar racing to finish races, but Wirth was unwilling for his cars to crawl around some laps in order to get a finish on the boards.   He said he was disappointed with their overall recent performance, citing issues with fuelling in qualifying as more problems.

“The chassis supplier is us. Nothing to do with engine supplier or fuel supplier. What that means is that we are fixing it for the team. We are not charging the team,” Wirth told Autosport Magazine

“It’s our responsibility to provide cars that can finish a grand prix. It’s down to us.

“We are not doing a very good job at the moment, particularly in qualifying, of picking up all the fuel.

“We are at liberty to carry on doing that [using heavy fuel loads]. That doesn’t affect the volume of fuel. But what we are saying is that even if we could pick up every last drop, which we can’t at the moment, we’ve got an issue.”

Wirth (L) under pressure from Richard Branson (R)

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