Virgin Racing director hits out at F1 figure

The brains behind Virgin Racing has taken a pot-shot at one of the most senior figures in Formula One.

The team's technical director Nick Wirth is returning to F1 after a 10-year hiatus after becoming disillusioned with the sport, having previously run the Simtek team and spent four years at Benetton as chief designer and aerodynamicist.



The 43-year-old quit F1 and set up his own company, Wirth Research, successfully developing cars for the Indy Car Series and American Le Mans Series.



Enthused by F1's new budget restrictions, Wirth has spearheaded Manor GP's push into the top echelon of motor racing, and the team was yesterday officially rebranded as Virgin Racing, with entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson firmly involved.



No-one at Virgin Racing is expecting a major impact in year one, and there are have been critics, such as Williams' respected chief of engineering Patrick Head who believes teams like Virgin are heading for a fall.



That prompted a remarkable retort from Wirth, who said: "Patrick is used to falling because he has fallen from winning, which is probably why he is saying that.



"He has also unwisely invested in two wind tunnels which are a bit archaic.



"But we've done enough due diligence on this programme, and there is no doubt it works, and no doubt the technology is right.



"We've 120 people in engineering and two simulators working on the F1 project, and a huge computational resource.



"I can tell you right now how fast our car will go around Barcelona - I won't, but I can.



"We know exactly where we are, but what we don't know is where everyone else is going to be.



"All I want to ensure is wherever we are in the first grand prix in Bahrain (in mid-March), from there we show a rate of development throughout the year with our process."



Wirth uses digital technology to design and test his cars, rather than spending millions of pounds on running wind tunnels and using parts that have failed to improve performance.



While his methods have worked in ALMS, it remains to be seen whether he can reproduce such success in F1.



"What I've learned in the intervening 10 years is how to design cars in a really efficient way," said Wirth.



"But I knew we needed a race team to make this work, and the guys at Manor represented exactly what I'd been looking for.



"When you go into battle, and you look left and right, you need guys who are damn good at their jobs, and they are good.



"Then you have Sir Richard who brings credibility. When I was at Simtek I never had a partner like this in Virgin who want to make things happen and are so passionate.



"So all the elements this time are right, and I'm just so excited, proud and confident we can make it work as we have people who understand business and understand racing. It's a great feeling."



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss