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.”
Fernando Alonso was the fastest man on the second and final day of the Pirelli tyre tests at Abu Dhabi.
The Spaniard, who came close to winning the 2010 World Championship, set a fastest time of 1.40.529. That was around a tenth quicker than second placed man Michael Schumacher who has clearly taken to the Pirelli tyres better than team mate Nico Rosberg.
World Champion Sebastian Vettel was third, while McLaren testers Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey were 6th and 7th.
Pastor Maldonado, linked heavily with a 2011 Williams drive, was out for Hispania once again and finished in 14th place just ahead of Virgin’s Timo Glock.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m40.529s 105 2. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m40.685s 74 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m40.825s 66 4. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1m41.294s 100 5. Robert Kubica Renault 1m41.614s 91 6. Gary Paffett McLaren 1m41.622s 46 7. Oliver Turvey McLaren 1m41.740s 30 8. Paul di Resta Force India 1m41.869s 35 9. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m42.110s 43 10. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m42.145s 97 11. Tonio Liuzzi Force India 1m42.416s 46 12. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m42.777s 46 13. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m44.521s 83 14. Pastor Maldonado Hispania 1m44.768s 65 15. Timo Glock Virgin 1m44.783s 82
Adrian Sutil, the talented Force India driver has told GrandPrix.com that he is keeping his options open with regard any future race seats.
The German driver, who has begun to start scoring consistent points finishes with Force India had until recently spent majority of his F1 career at the back of the grid. However with a rejuvinated Force India team results had been going his way, and he currently lies 10th in the championship ahead of the likes of Rubens Barrichello.
Things have not been quite so rosy for him in the last two races though. At his home event at Hockenheim, a pitlane error caused him to finish the race at the back and saw his team get fined. Then last weekend in Hungary he scored a DNF following a collision with Robert Kubica.
Sutil has been courted by teams in the past, but this is the first time he has openly suggested he may move. With the top teams all being locked down for 2011, his main option for move appears to be with Renault. Talented Russian Vitaly Petrov could be on his way out of the team, and Sutil is in high contention for the race seat fighting against the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Timo Glock and Bruno Senna.
“I’m happy at Force India but I want to move forward,” Sutil said this morning
“The top teams are pretty much closed, so it’s hard to find a better seat than here.
“Scoring points regularly was my goal for this season and next year I want to improve again, whether it’s somewhere else, or here.”
He added: “It’s a tough decision to make right now.
“If you are signing up for something like three years and you’re not confident the team is better, then you shouldn’t do it.”
Bruno Senna, who drives for the Hispania Racing Team says he wants driving standards in Formula One to improve, especially around the back of the grid where he currently is.
Senna, who is the nephew of the late Ayrton, was infuriated by Timo Glock’s chopping sides of the track at Valencia which caused the Brazilian to lose his front wing. Glock, who races for Virgin, was later penalised for ignoring blue flags.
“It is happening a lot this year where drivers who are overtaking other drivers are just chopping in front too many times,” Senna told Reuters.
“With the front wing sizes we have, everybody is losing front wings. The amount of front wings that are being damaged or lost, and punctures on the rear tyres, is ridiculous.
“Even if you are not competing for position, sometimes they just chop in front of you.”
When asked if the issue should be raised with the stewards, Senna replied: “I think it’s maybe a good idea. We need to see what can be done.”
Virgin Racing’s first ever Formula One car, the VR-01 was shakendown at a brief test at Silverstone yesterday.
The new car, which has been developed through Nick Wirth’s dveelopment team at Manor racing took tentative steps out onto the damp cold circuit in a momentous occassion met with raptuous applause and delight from the mechanics.
The team were originally scheduled to enter F1 under the Manor name before Richard Branson came in with sponsorship and funding in exchange for a large stake of the team.
“After 10 challenging months, all the commitment and determination has finally paid off,” said Nick Wirth, Virgin’s technical director.
“Today was all about those tentative first few steps but the programme really gets underway tomorrow with a full day of on-track evaluation for both Timo and Lucas [di Grassi].”
Timo Glock took the car out yesterday and new f1 driver Lucas di Grassi gets his hands on it today at the British based circuit.
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.
Virgin Racing has officially launched its new F1 programme in London today.
The team, originally known as Manor GP, will be backed heavily by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. The British born businessman was very interested in brand exposure through F1, following a successful sponsorship year with the Brawn GP team.
The “worst kept secret” in the world as it was joked was confirmed as the team took the opportunity to show off their drivers, logo and also have a chat with the world’s media at a lavish morning in Notting Hill.
Timo Glock was confirmed as a driver some weeks ago, but Lucas Di Grassi comes to the team with a deal penned in the past few days – he tested with Renault recently at Jerez.
He comes from success in GP2.
“It feels great to be here, it’s a dream come true for me after two years of being a test driver, and from that and from GP2 I feel I’m ready and am very confident in this team,” said di Grassi.
“We’re here to race, not to do politics or mess around, we’re here to race.”
The team also confirmed their test drivers as Alvaro Parente and Luiz Razia.
“I’m going to do my best to do a good job. It’s great to be with this team and there’s going to be a lot of success.” Parente said
The team’s sporting director John Booth said he was delighted with the line-up.
“I have 20 years’ experience working with drivers,” he said. “I have been privileged to work with some fantastic drivers in that time and I hope that’s helped in giving me an eye for a good driver.
“The four drivers we have here are the four we wanted in our line-up, they’re the perfect drivers.”
The colours of the team appear to be black with white and dashes of red.
There are reports from a French motoring magazine Auto Hebdo that talented and highly rated rookie Kamui Kobayashi could get a race seat with Renault for 2010 making him Robert Kubica’s team mate.
Kobayashi has been left as a refugee without a drive for next season following Toyota’s withdrawl from F1. Following a couple of good showings at the end of the season standing in for injured Timo Glock, it would seem that sponsorship could pave the way into struggling Renault.
That sponsor would be Panasonic, the huge electrical firm who were Toyota’s title sponsor from inception in 2002. The producer of popular products like Televisions and Blu-Ray players want to keep a presence in Formula One. With Renault struggling to find sponsors following crash gate this could all be a match made in heaven.
If Auto Hebdo is to be believed Kobayashi and Panasonic representatives met Renault in a meeting at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Also helping Kobayashi’s plight is most likely rival Timo Glock being announced with Manor Grand Prix.
Timo Glock has announced he will be driving for the newly formed Manor GP racing team in Formula One next season.
Glock, 27, was linked with a move to Renault after his former team Toyota pulled out of Formula One a few weeks ago.
Now the 2007 GP2 Champion will drive for the new team, powered by Cosworth engines and likely to be sponsored and backed by Richard Branson’s Virgin group.
“I had several options for 2010, some of them with more established teams,” said Glock.
“Every driver has the same overall objective – to win the world championship one day – but the way I want to succeed is to be part of the process of building a team and to play a key role in developing the car. This is why the opportunity with Manor Grand Prix is so exciting for me.
“I have spent a lot of time with [technical director] Nick Wirth, [team principal] John Booth and other members of the team and what I liked most is that this a real racing team run by true racers.
“The team may be small and new but it has big ambitions and a very impressive car and development programme. I am confident that I can play a big role in terms of my technical input and that’s a fantastic opportunity for me. I can’t wait to start testing the new car early next year.”
With Jenson Button now clearly heading to McLaren, we are literally waiting on an official announcement it leaves the door at Renault open for a various number of drivers, but most likely for Kimi Raikkonen – Renault really are the last team left who could afford the 2007 F1 Champion.