Posted on November 3, 2011


“And so it came to pass that in Milton Keynes in the shire of Buckingham, Stewart GP begat Jaguar, which begat Red Bull, which smote everyone into submission. While Tyrrell begat BAR, which begat Honda which begat Brawn which begat Mercedes which chased furiously after the Red Bulls.” Name changes in Formula 1 are as old as the hills; it’s a business and takeovers are an essential part of business life. They aren’t always allowed, as Tom Walkinshaw found when he tried to turn Arrows into TWR, but generally where it’s in most people’s interests to see strong brands with More…

Posted on July 4, 2011


The Virgin Racing team, now controlled by Russian car company Marussia and its billionaire investor Andrey Cheglakov, has made a significant move as it attempts to split with the rather chaotic structure of the last 18 months and form itself into a proper F1 team. Last month the team dispensed with technical director Nick Wirth and now it has acquired his company at the same time as striking a technical partnership deal with McLaren to use its wind tunnel, simulator and other facilities. At this stage the deal is not as extensive as Force India’s partnership with McLaren, which provides More…

Posted on July 1, 2011


McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh, Mercedes’ Ross Brawn, Virgin Racing’s Graeme Lowdon and Force India’s Robert Fearnley met face to face with 300 F1 fans at the FOTA Fans’ Forum, UK at McLaren Technology Centre to discuss topics raised by the fans and hear their points of view. Top of the agenda was fans’ concern that F1 should stay on Free to Air TV and the rumoured NewsCorp take over was discussed. The team principals also tackled the subject of F1′s green credentials, with Fearnley putting forward a slightly different tone from the others, describing F1 as “a celebration of excess.” “The More…

Posted on February 8, 2011


The second official test starts on Thursday at Jerez in Spain and in the last couple of days we have had the launch of the new Virgin and Force India cars. Hispania has yet to launch, but it released some images of the car today, just in front of Force India. It also announced that it will not take part in the Jerez test but will instead test in Italy on a Pirelli filming day. Virgin held a showbiz event at the BBC TV Centre on Monday. The car is the second F1 product from the digital nerve centre at More…

Posted on December 31, 2010


Virgin Racing, 0 wins, 0 poles, 12th in Constructors’ Championship If Lotus’ first season on track turned out more or less how they expected it to, Virgin’s fell below their expectations for a variety of reasons. First they were caught out by a couple of changes in fuel regulations which meant that the fuel tank wasn’t quite big enough to do the race distance. They were given dispensation to change the chassis – something which is expressly banned nowadays for cost saving reasons. Reliability was worse than expected, due to a range of problems, of which hydraulics was the main More…

Posted on December 21, 2010


The Virgin Racing team has fulfilled its promise of announcing the driver line up for 2011 ahead of Christmas. This morning 25 year old Jerome d’Ambrosio was confirmed in the seat alongside Timo Glock at Virgin. D’Ambrosio did some Friday running for the team at the end of the season where he was evaluated. He ran in Singapore, Japan, Korea and Brazil car at the Abu Dhabi young guns test in November. The Belgian has spent the last four seasons racing in GP2, a former team mate of Kamui Kobayashi at DAMS, he is managed by Gravity Sports management, which More…

Posted on November 11, 2010


Virgin Racing will be part owned by Russian specialist car maker Marussia, following a deal struck this week, which shows the growing Russian interest in the sport. The news follows on from the announcement that Russia will host a Grand Prix in Sochi starting in 2014 and that Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin tested a Renault F1 car as a guest of team owner Gerard Lopez. Like all Virgin’s sponsors, Marussia wants to plug into Virgin’s vast network of customers and communications channels. Marussia wants to go further than that, however. The intention is that its brand should appear in More…

Posted on October 11, 2010


This is something a little bit special, something I’ve wanted to bring you for a while. On a recent visit to Wirth Research in Bicester, technical HQ of the Virgin Racing team, I was allowed to film in the simulator, normally an area which is off limits for media and especially cameras.The graphics on screen are off limits, which is why we’ve shot this as we did. That’s where a lot of the IP is. Wirth designs and builds the F1 cars for Virgin Racing, but the simulator is available for hire by others. Michelin use it a lot for More…

Posted on September 16, 2010


Last week I went down to visit Virgin Racing Technical Director Nick Wirth at his Wirth Research headquarters in Oxfordshire, which this year designed and developed the first digital F1 car, entirely conceived using CFD with no wind tunnel. It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Virgin, which started the season with chronic unreliability and a fuel tank which wasn’t big enough. Solving the reliability issues delayed performance upgrades until Silverstone and here Wirth admits that there was some nervousness within the team around Valencia. But recently they have added performance to the car, Wirth says that his group has added More…

Posted on June 27, 2010


We had over 850 entries for the FX Pro sponsored prize of two grandstand tickets for the British Grand Prix on 10/11 July. And the result was incredibly, close, the winning prediction being just 0.007s out! Fans were asked to predict the gap between Virgin Racing drivers Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi in qualifying in Valencia. Up to that point Glock had a 100% record of outqualifying the Brazilian, sometimes by a margin of over a second. However Di Grassi took the opportunity to turn the form book on its head and beat Glock by 0.054s – five hundredths More…

Posted on June 25, 2010


I’m delighted to be able to offer two top of the range grandstand seats for the British Grand Prix on 11 July, courtesy of my sponsor FX Pro, the Forex trading company which sponsors Virgin Racing. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment and predict what the margin will be in qualifying at Valencia between the two Virgin drivers and in whose favour. The times in F1 are measured to 1/1000ths of a second. So for example if you think Timo Glock will be faster, you might answer “Glock by 0.123 secs”. Please do remember the More…

Posted on March 26, 2010


Virgin Racing’s initiation to F1 took an embarrassing turn this weekend as it was forced to request a dispensation to homologate a new chassis to allow for a larger fuel tank. It appears that the one the car was designed around is not big enough to allow the car to finish a Grand Prix. “It has become clear during pre-season testing and our debut race in Bahrain that our fuel tank capacity is marginal, ” said Virgin technical director Nick Wirth, ” And if not addressed there is the possibility that fuel pick-up could become an issue in certain circumstances,” More…

Posted on March 5, 2010


Of the new teams in Formula 1 it looks as though the radical Virgin Racing car is probably going to be the fastest, once it hits its stride, but preparations for the season have been undermined somewhat by reliability problems in testing. The car has been unable to hold on to its hydraulic fluid and during its first test a front wing fell off. This has been a little embarrassing for technical director Nick Wirth, who has staked his reputation on a car which has never been anywhere near a wind tunnel, but instead was designed only using CFD or More…

Posted on February 28, 2010


Virgin Racing’s ultimate boss Sir Richard Branson dropped in to Barcelona today to see his new F1 car testing and to deliver some well chosen words in response to Ferrari’s attack earlier this week on the new teams. The now infamous attack by the “Horse Whisperer” on the Ferrari website this week laid into the new teams and claimed that Virgin and Lotus, the two new teams which have been out testing are “limping” into the season. Branson clearly felt that this was not something he could allow to go without a response. Always one with an eye for a More…

Posted on November 30, 2009


The FIA has this evening published the entry list for next season’s F1 championship. There are some interesting points of note. First, as expected, Richard Branson’s Virgin is “doing a Benetton” and pushing its brand to the forefront, calling the team Virgin Racing and the cars Virgin Cosworths. Manor is not entering F1 under its own name. The model here was set out by Benetton in the 1980s and 1990s, whereby it got the maximum brand exposure while getting the sponsors to pay the bills. Virgin Racing has yet to announce its commercial package for F1, but one would expect More…



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