JUNE 2, 2011

Virgin splits with Wirth

Following a board meeting post-Monaco, Marussia Virgin Racing has halted its technical collaboration with Wirth Racing Technologies and boss Nick Wirth, the designer of the Virgin race chassis.

The catalyst for Virgin's Formula 1 entry was former FIA president Max Mosley's cost-cap initiative, which prompted the company to form an alliance with Wirth, who is also a shareholder, to produce a car exclusively using computational fluid dynamics in the interests of reduced cost.

Marussia, initially a sponsor, became an equity partner at the end of 2010 and harbours ambitions for the team to be a competitive force in F1 by the time of the first Russian Grand Prix, scheduled for Soichi in 2014.

The team has been disappointed by the performance of this year's MVR02 and finds itself regularly at the wrong end of Q1, battling it out with Hispania Racing. For the past few months, former Renault director of engineering Pat Symonds has been carrying out an extensive review of the team's situation and recommending steps forward. Symonds is currently acting in a consulting role as he is unable to make a full-time return to the F1 paddock until the end of 2012 following his involvement in the Singapore 'crashgate' scandal in 2008.

It is believed that the team has plans to establish its own separate UK-based team infrastructure and that the former Arrows premises at Leafield is one possibility. There have also been recent rumours of a technical collaboration with McLaren, similar to that currently enjoyed by Force India.