Marussia Virgin Racing have launched their car to take on the 2011 world championship in a lavish London ceremony.
The Marussia name now preceeds Virgin following a major tie up with the Russian sportscar manufacturer and the team at the end of 2010. It has led to the new car being designated as the MVR-02.
Designed purely by CFD last season, the VR-01 was largely disappointing mostly due to reliability issues, but the Cosworth powered team are hoping for better things this season. The new car is a clear advancement on last seasons machine, in a similar fashion to Team Lotus, the experience of a season with development has led to a much tighter overall package being produced.
The Virgin features a much lower front nosecone than we have previously seen, and there is also an interesting exhaust design at the rear of the car – whether that is forcing some form of blown aerodynamics at the rear end we do not know.
Nick Wirth, head of design at the team was clearly very happy with the new car, citing a serious gain in aerodynamic strength and reliability.
“Since the middle of year we worked on process, we calibrated how fast we had to improve and what did we have to work on,” he said.
“We have done a huge amount of development of physics and what we are doing to catch up with everyone.”
“The back of car is heavily regulated from last year, and we managed to take this car and not only catch up where we were, but go above it in terms of aero efficiency – in every single way this car is faster and better than last year.”
The car still retains its red and black paintwork, but this year has some white thrown into the mix to make quite a good looking machine. Various high profile sponsors including of course Virgin and Marussia, but also QNET and CSC have retained sponsorship with the backmarkers providing a good financial base.
Timo Glock will race the car for a second season alongisde promoted rookie Jerome D’Ambrosio who ousted 2010 racer Lucas di Grassi from the race seat.
Glock, 28, says he is hopeful of a big step forward this season.
“We want to grab points in first races and then work from there,” he said. “We are much more sorted out, more structured, we have one year experience so we should be on a good way.
“But we have to realistic, we were 3-4 seconds off the pace last year and you never catch 3-4 seconds in winter time, so we have to make some improvement and then move up.
“I am hoping for a realistic step. I am happy to do a proper step over the winter with the team together and be strong in first races. When you see back to lots of crashes and technical problems – that is where we struggled last year and that is where we have to be strong.”
Team Lotus (the one who raced last year) have become the second team to officially pull the covers off their new 2011 car.
The green and yellow liveried machine will start be raced by Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen this season under the name of Team Lotus as the management’s row with Group Lotus, now affiliated with Renault, continues.
The new car retains the 50’s yellow and green livery that fans came to know and love last season. New sponsors stand side by side with old ones, on the now Renault powered machine.
On the technical side, Mike Gascoyne has said that the T128 is far more exciting, intricate and advanced than last seasons T128. There is much more thought and special design in the front wing roll hoop and on the side pods especially. The rool hoop/air box design is very similar to the blade design used by Mercedes in 2010, although this had been outlawed by the FIA – Lotus have found a way around the regulations.
“I think that basically this car looks like a frontrunning car in every area,” Mike Gascoyne said. “We said very clearly that we want to start challenging the established teams and I think that’s very achievable.”
“With last year’s car and especially the first half of the season it was just an exercise in survival, whereas from the middle of last year it was about building the team up – that’s when we started working on this car
“I think the thing that was a challenge this year was that the 2010 car really was a one-off, because of the way it was done with the design team and the time we had.
“There’s been almost no carry-over of parts for the 2011 car, whereas normally you’d have a substantial carry-over and the chance to optimise last year’s parts.”
Elliot Dason-Barber, head of R&D added: “The area that intrigues me the most is the front suspension, and the rear as well actually. We’ve tried to push the boundaries with a few things to make it a bit lighter and more efficient.”
The team’s aim this season then looks to be fighting at the front.
Veteran Jarno Trulli, who endured a torrid 2010 campaign with the team said this morning: “Sitting on the grid in Bahrain this year will feel very different – a different tension,”
“Last year we were just aiming to finish the race. This year we’ll be aiming to finish in the points. With the package we have, that should be achievable.”
Ferrari have become the first team to launch their 2011 Formula One car – named the F150.
Thw F150 name comes from the fact it is 150 years since Italian unification, the flag bearer for the nation decided it was important to increase exposure of the major event in the country’s long history. The cars rear wing features an Italian tricolore flag too to increase the patriotism of the famous team.
The car itself is not abnormal in colouring to previous Ferrari’s, the beautiful scarlet paintwork is retained. Sponsors look thin on the ground, but they are bigt and important. Bank Santander have increased their sponsorship of the team, as they begin to move away from former team McLaren. Philip Morris brand Marlboro are still a sponsor, but have no presence on the car any more following the banning on the bar code blank out design. A new Scuderia Ferrari logo instead dominates the engine box.
The car looks very similar to the 2010 beast that nearly won the world title. It does not have a shark fin rear wing, as the f-duct system is now banned. Aldo Costa the chief designer at the team said the car looks similar but underneath is a whole new package.
“The major aspects with the most impact on the project were connected to the aerodynamic development. The car will change a lot. The double diffuser, the F-duct, is gone.” Costa told Ferrari.com
“The rear wing will be movable, so that the driver can overtake the car in front of him and use it in the qualifying according to his needs. The KERS is back. Although we’ve improved its size, it’s still quite big.
“As far as the looks are concerned the rules keep them [the cars] quite unaltered. The cars look like the ones from last year, but from a technical point of view they will be really different.”
The boss of Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo has stated a clear intention that this car has been built to win the world championship.
“This year we have to win and we will do our best to win,” di Montezemolo declared at the team’s Maranello headquarters.
“We have updated the team, we have made some improvements and we are awaiting the challenges against our first opponents.”
Meanwhile star driver Fernando Alonso – who shook the car down a few days ago – was buoyant and said this vehicle was much better than last seasons.
“There are no doubts that when I arrived in January 2010, I drove a car that had different characteristics to what I drove in previous years,” said Alonso at Ferrari’s launch in Maranello today.
“Now I will drive a car that is a continuity of what I drove in 2010. I think all the developments and the direction that you go with improvements in the car over one year has some kind of definition of your driving style.
“I think that helps the designer of the car and the technical people with next year’s car, so I think in 2011 there will be some kind of direction that we took in 2010 regarding my driving style.
“So I think I will feel more confident with this year’s car. I will feel more comfortable driving the car, it will be more predictable to me. And I know the team now – I know the people, I know the guys, I know the names of all my mechanics, something that was not the case in Bahrain last year. So that will also help.”
Hispania, the recently re-named Campos Meta team have launched their first ever car last night with just over one week to go before the first round of the 2010 season in Bahrain.
The team, which was saved from extinction before its first race by businessman Jose Ramon Carabante, got re-named HRT-F1 a couple of days ago and confirmed Karun Chandhok as its second driver yesterday morning before displaying its car yesterday evening.
The machine has a chassis constructed by Dallara and engines by Cosworth, with be managed by new team principal Colin Kolles and Bruno Senna will bring back the eternal namesake to Formula One when he steps into the cockpit alongside Chandhok.
The car itself lacks sponsors, and is finished in a grey paint with a feint colouring of Spanish flag. Embratel is the only confirmed sponsor thus far through their deal with Senna.
“I am excited by our driver line-up and the amazing effort and passion I have witnessed from our entire team to get us to this point,” said Colin Kolles during a team presentation in Murcia, Spain.
“We have all tools in our hands to become the most successful new team in the F1 paddock this year.”
“There are always development and human issues within a team, but we are close to achieving our breakthrough in F1 and the coming season will be a massive learning curve for us working together.
“It would be a dream to win our first point in our first race, but we are focused on taking things one step at a time and building on our competitiveness as the season goes on.”
Lotus Grand Prix Racing are back in Formula One after a 16 year absence.
The team, reformed by Malaysian business magnate Tony Fernandes, the owner of Air Asia, launched their car – the T127 – in a lavish ceremony in Central London just a couple of hours ago.
The new car is decked out in swathes of green and yellow which will be familiar to any followers of classic Grand Prix, back in the hey-day of drivers like Jim Clark.
Looking a little sponsorless, despite its beautiful livery money will not be an issue to the multi-millionaire Fernandes, who has a bet on that his team will be better than rival airline owner Richard Branson’s new Virgin team.
Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen will be racing the car, a great pairing with plenty of experience for the team – with Fairuz Fauzy, the rated rookie as test driver.
“Words cannot express how I feel today,” said Fernandes. “It is an amazing job to get an F1 licence, have five people in Hingham and turn up today with this car.
“I was thrilled when Clive [Chapman] said that this was just like te beginning of Lotus back in the early days.”
He added: “We know we have a huge burden on our shoulers, standing on the shoulders of giants – Clark, Moss, Hill, and Mansell. We know we have a tremendous journey in front of us, we are honoured and cherished to be a part of history – we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts and we will do our best to return Lotus to its glory days.”
Mike Gascoyne, the former Toyota technical director was bouyant on the new car.
“The launch of the car is a very proud moment for the design team and the whole team,” said Gascoyne. “This one is very special for me personally for two reasons – firstly the Lotus name coming back into F1 is something very special.
“I grew up in Norfolk and went to school five miles down the road from the original factory. I grew up in era when Lotus was winning races and championships, so the opportunity to work with this team is very special. But also it is the challenge of bringing a new team and a new car into F1 in such a short space of time.
“What this is about for me, and it is the first launch I have been to where the whole team is here, there is a fantastic buzz about this place, the whole team has given their heart and soul to this project. I want to thank Tony on behalf of the whole team to have the courage to back us and trust us.
“We have a fantastic driver line-up who have put faith in the whole design team. I am proud to be up here on stage as a representative of that team, they have done a fantastic job.”
Meanwhile Italian driver Jarno Trulli said the whole event was very emotional.
“It is a very emotional moment for me – it will be great to take Lotus back on track where Lotus belongs and I think we have a big challenge, but it is what we are aiming for. I am really fired up for it,” he said.
Red Bull Racing have launched their 2010 title contender, the RB6 on a morning of testing in Jerez hampered by rain and cold weather.
The team who came oh-so-close to winning the 2009 title, hope that Adrian Newey’s clear develipment on the RB5 will be enough to gift one of their drivers the top spot in the drivers rankings this season. Sebastian Vettel, the hotly tipped German youngster and Mark Webber are driving the new car funded by the Austrian Energy Drink giant.
F1 media and workers alike were expecting something quite revolutionary from Newey’s design team, but instead we have been handed a fairly ordinary looking car, with a McLaren style shark fin and a very intricate front wing.
Sponsorship and livery mostly come in the form of Red Bull, with Total fuels and oils sponsoring the team – further cementing the teams relationship with the Renault engine supply.
No-one from Red Bull was available to talk aboit the new car, but Sebastian Vettel did comment on the pressure he is facing being the favourite to win the world title.
“Most important now is that the car is running and that we improve the reliability and speed. First you need to make your car work, then you see where you are and according to that you set your expectations.
“For sure there is only one target, to be just one step better than last year. I want to win the world championship. If we are the favourites, that’s fine. If not, that’s fine too.”
“I hope to be competitive, I hope the car is good – but Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes all look good, especially with Michael (Schumacher) back, its going to be very interesting”
Force India become the latest team to show off their 2010 creation after taking the covers off the VJM03.
The team were speculated to be in financial difficulties following a mis-timed tax return, however all now seems well and on the back of a successful 2009 season, they look to the future with the more advanced design of this car.
The Silverstone based squad will have Adrian Sutil, the perennial German and Vitantonio Liuzzi racing for them, with DTM ace Paul di Resta working Friday practice and test role for them.
“There’s a little bit of variety out there but predominantly we are happy,” Mark Smith, design manager told Autosport. “You will always see something on each car that makes you think ‘that’s interesting’ but understanding how they work on your car is the key thing.
“We haven’t looked at photos and thought ‘we’ve missed something significant’ and we’re excited to get down to Jerez.”
Vijay Mallya was bouyant over his team, and said he wants podiums and points regularly this season.
“Our goal is to continue on the same path of performance improvement that we had at the end of 2009,” said Mallya.
“I don’t think I am being over-proud when I say 2009 was an exceptional year for us. The bare statistics say it all: one podium, one pole position, one fastest lap, a further five top 10 starts and 13 points.
“We’ve learnt from our experiences and we’ve come out a better team: resilient, resourceful and now resurgent. I hope 2010 will see this great progress carrying forward.
“We’ve got one podium so far but I would hope that, this time next year, I’m talking about more points and more podiums. I’m confident we can get this, why not aim high?’
Vitantonio Liuzzi, a driver who promised so much but has had little chance to deliver says that 2010 is a fresh start for him.
“In Force India I feel really good, the atmosphere is great and the team works well together,” he said. “Even when I was in a difficult position last year as a test driver they were very supportive and I’ve built a good strong relationship with them.
“I feel like I’m in a family and for sure much better environment than I have been in the past. This year is a new start for me. I’m a different person from two years ago and I am approaching it from a different mentality.
“It’s a different Tonio and I’m looking forward to what can come. I’m still young and have a lot of time in front of me so I just want to prove what I can do.”
Virgin Racing have launched their new car, the first of the “new teams” to do so with the covers finally coming off the VR-01 today.
The launch was supposed to be broadcast live, but a major technical glitch left fans and reporters sat watching a black screen, and the joke was most certainly on Virgin who beamed about their car being designed exclusively on computers – and they couldn’t even get a video stream working.
Nevertheless we finally saw the new car which is quite a looker, in a black and red livery quite similar to the former Midland F1 cars of 2006.
The sponsors are there, which makes a change to some of the more recent launches.
“Today is a very proud day for everyone involved with Virgin Racing, however on this occasion, where the car is the star, I want to pay tribute to all the amazing people at Wirth Research who deserve so much of the credit for the VR-01,” said designer Nick Wirth.
“Putting together an F1 team, assembling an engineering group and designing a new car from scratch is an epic task in the timeframe we have been working to.
“I have been fortunate to have worked with the very best designers in F1 and I am well aware of exactly what it takes to be successful in this sport. When you see what the existing teams have achieved using the conventional but proven design approach, it is unsurprising that there is a great deal of scepticism about our all-CFD approach.
“But we are competing in a sport that is undergoing significant change having come face to face with today’s harsh economic realities. Under resource restriction, convention will become too costly and necessity really will be the mother of invention. I have absolute belief in the digital design process and the opportunity to put the all-CFD approach to the test at the highest level – to demonstrate that this could be the way for the future of F1 – is very, very exciting.”
Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi will be driving the car, originally bought into F1 under the Manor moniker and now known as Virgin from Richard Branson’s business group.
Mercedes Benz may have done a livery launch last week in Stuttgart, slapping the new sponsor logos onto the old championship winning Brawn, but today was the first time we go to see the fruits of the labours of the championship winning teams work under the new backing of Mercedes.
The car isn’t the most easy on the eye, and has a very complex front wing but interestingly does not run with a shark-fin tail wing which we have seen so often already. the rear does in fact look fairly similar to the Ferrari F10 (which is leading the morning test times), so that should be some comfort for old Ferrari man Michael Schumacher.
Check out the photos below of the new machine!