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."



News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence