DECEMBER 15, 2009
Virgin has confirmed that it has acquired the naming rights for Manor Grand Prix and will launch Virgin Racing in F1. The team has confirmed that Brazilian Lucas di Grassi will join former Toyota driver Timo Glock in the team.
Di Grassi has been Renault's test driver for several years and this year finished third in the GP2 championship, behind Nico Hulkenberg and Vitaly Petrov.
Designer Nick Wirth returns to F1 after a decade, having enjoyed success in Indy Racing and Le Mans sports car development in the USA with his innovative and low-cost design approach. As Technical Director for Virgin Racing, Nick will apply the expertise, experience and resources of his progressive engineering group, Wirth Research, to the research, development, design and manufacture of F1's first all-digital car design - the Virgin-Cosworth VR-01, built using purely CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) rather than expensive and wind tunnel testing.
The team will be run by John Booth, whose Manor Motorsport operation in the North of England achieved some Formula 3 success and played a role in the development of Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton.
Alex Tai, formerly Director of Special Projects for the Virgin Group, becomes Team Principal for Virgin Racing. The team's Director of Racing will be Graeme Lowdon.
"At Virgin Racing we have a remarkable group of experienced people who have come together to make the impossible possible," said Tai. "Virgin Racing is a real racing team founded by real racers which has a clearly defined path towards achieving success. This will be our core focus, but at the same time we intend to be a team with great spirit."