The Virgin that won’t go all the way!

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 27: Lucas Di Grassi of Brazil and Virgin GP drives during qualifying for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit on March 27, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Astonishingly the BBC is going with rumours that had originally surfaced pre-season that the Virgin F1 car does not have a big enough fuel tank to get it to the end of the race.  Apparently commentator Jonathan Legard has heard about this astonishing blunder.

If this is true it is an amazing mistake that cannot be easily fixed.  Firstly because in race refuelling has been banned, and secondly to change a F1 chassis after it has been approved by the FIA will take weeks to implement.

The Virgin team is yet to make a formal announcement, and I wonder if they ever would admit to such a mistake, as it would make it impossible for them to get a result for the next 2-3 races which would be damaging to title sponsor Richard Brandson.

One hopes this is not true, but a memo has gone round the teams from the FIA that Virgin needs to make adjustments to its car, and this only serves to add to the mounting rumours.

During the first practice session the BBC commented that various parts of the cars designed were outsourced and we can only assume that something has been miscalculated or communicated.

The Virgin car is the first F1 car to be designed completely by computer by Nick Wirth’s team.  Whether he has any responsibility over the design of the tank is as yet unknow.

F1 2010 Season Preview – Team News

In Part 2 of our Preview of the new season, we now look at the 12 teams  in this years championship.

The main news is that Brawn GP, the drivers and constructors champions of 2009 are no more, they have now been brought out by Mercedes, giving the team that nearly folded this time last year a much-needed stable financial grounding. One of the most depressing stories of 2009 was the constant threat of withdrawal from the sport of some F1’s teams and Manufacturers. In the end, BMW and Toyota have decided to the sport behind and Renault, who stay in F1 in name have been brought out by a new investor.   However, with a new year brings positive news and new additions to the grid.  Firstly the BMW team have been saved by former team manger Peter Sauber, and will be known as Sauber going forward, and there are 3 brand new teams that will be joining the big boys on the grid on Sunday.

The historic Lotus name returns after its last race in 1994. Despite the team being based in Norfolk like the original Lotus team, this carries very few ties with the dominant team Colin Chapman built up through the 60’s and 70’s. Backed by Malaysian investment, Mike Gascoyne is the experienced figure-head that has helped formalised and design the car, and will be vital for the teams development.

Despite being a sponsor to the Brawn team last year, The Virgin name returns for 2010 with its own team.  Richard Branson has paid for the naming rights of the team which was formerly Manor Motorsport. The most important factor about this team is that the car will be the first ever F1 car to have been designed completely on computer and without using a wind tunnel to aid and improve the car’s aerodynamics performance.  Through using just CFD (Computation fluid dynamics) the team aims to compete competitively while reducing costs needed to have their own wind tunnel.

The third and final team coming to F1 this year is the HRT team (Hispania Racing Team).  This is a Spanish based team that looked like it was not even going to make the start of the season.  It was going to be called Campos however funding for the team never arrived and it was saved at the last moment.  The car and team are completely untried has not even turned a wheel in testing. Friday morning in Bahrain will be the first time the team, car and drivers would have all been in the same place at the same time and will surely be the tailenders for the first park of the season at least.

Another legendary name also returns, Cosworth will provide engines to the 3 new teams and Williams this year.