The Virgin Racing team has signed a deal to a long-term technical collaboration with McLaren Applied Technologies, which will lead to the backmarker outfit have access to the McLaren team’s facilities, resources and technical expertise.
The deal is set to include the use of testing rigs, wind tunnels, simulators, and the like, as well as CFD and CAE design technology. The Anglo-Russian team’s steadfast pursuit of taking an only-CFD design approach has proven to be an abject failure – resulting in the sacking of chief designer Nick Wirth earlier this year – and this is the first in a series of steps the team will undertake to move up the grid.
The deal will also see members of the McLaren team embedded in the Virgin Racing team to provide further support to the outfit, and it is expected to translate into a switch in engine supplier for the team from Cosworth to Mercedes power.
Virgin also confirmed that it has purchased the Wirth Racing Technologies business and facilities to establish a technical base for its long-term future.
“When we undertook our detailed review of the team in the first half of 2011, it was clear that our bold ambitions for the future would need to be matched with some equally bold steps towards achieving them,” Virgin Racing CEO Andy Webb is quoted as saying.
“I am delighted that in a relatively short space of time we are now in the fantastic position of being able to make these two very important announcements, which will enable us to make some dramatic strides forward with immediate effect.
“Our technical partnership with McLaren is very exciting indeed. McLaren is one of the most prestigious and successful marques in grand prix racing history, with an enviable record of success over many years.
“We can benefit enormously from McLaren’s far-reaching techniques and capabilities and I have no doubt that this partnership will see us take the technical steps necessary to make a significant leap forwards.
“In addition, our acquisition of the WRT Formula 1 business ensures continuity of technical infrastructure for the period ahead, which means that the transition to working with our new technical partner can begin immediately and is not frustrated by logistical considerations.”
“McLaren Applied Technologies is delighted to have entered into a Technical Partnership with Marussia Virgin Racing,” McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh added.
“Under the terms of this Technical Partnership, Marussia Virgin Racing will be able to access McLaren’s wind tunnel, simulator, rigs, and fitness and wellbeing programmes. These properties are state-of-the-art, and we confidently therefore expect Marussia Virgin Racing to derive significant benefits from them.
“During the period in which we were agreeing this deal, our experience of dealing with Andy [Webb] and his team was extremely positive and we recognise that he and his colleagues are very serious about making developments that will lift the competitiveness of their cars over the coming months and years.”
McLaren has previously held a similar technical arrangement with Force India, although so little has been heard about this of late that one could assume it has all but evaporated…
[Image via The Cahier Archive]