Marussia Virgin Racing
|Base||Dinnington, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom|
Etienne de Villiers
Lucas di Grassi
|Next name||Marussia F1 Team|
|Formula One World Championship career|
|First entry||2010 Bahrain Grand Prix|
|Final entry||2011 Brazilian Grand Prix|
Virgin Racing (subsequently Marussia Virgin Racing) was a Formula One racing team which was under management of Manor Motorsport, Wirth Research and Richard Branson's Virgin Group which competed in Formula One in 2010 and 2011. It scored no points and finished last in the Constructor's Championship for the two years the team competed.
The team was one of the four granted an entry for the 2010 season, and was originally known as Manor Grand Prix, before being renamed Virgin Racing when Virgin brought a shareholding and naming rights at the end of 2009. The team's original car, the Virgin VR-01, was the first in Formula One to be developed using only computational fluid dynamics, and was driven by Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi. At the end of the season, Marussia Motors bought a stake in the team and became the main sponsor, with the team known as Marussia Virgin Racing and racing under a Russian licence for 2011. The partnership with Wirth ended midway through 2011, and a new technical structure bringing car development in-house was set up for 2012.
Marussia Virgin Racing was renamed to Marussia F1 Team at the end of 2011. The company retained the base in Dinnington, as well as setting up the technical base in Banbury for the construction of the racing cars.
The team was formed as Manor Grand Prix as a tie-up between Manor Motorsport and Wirth Research. Initially, Virgin's Alex Tai was the Team Principal, while Graeme Lowdon was the team's Director of Racing. Manor Motorsport boss John Booth was the Sporting Director, while former Simtek team owner Nick Wirth was the technical director. Less than one month after the Virgin partnership was officially launched, Tai left his position and Booth took over as team principal, with Lowdon becoming the CEO.
The team used engines supplied by Cosworth. Manor Motorsport, best known as a Formula Three team and for launching the careers of World Champions Kimi Räikkönen and Lewis Hamilton, were running only one car in the British Formula 3 Championship, in co-operation with CF Racing. Car preparation and racing operations were run from its headquarters in Dinnington, South Yorkshire, while Wirth Research designed, developed and built the VR-01 from its base in Bicester, before announcing a relocation to new, larger premises in Banbury, Oxfordshire in July 2010.
In June 2011, the team announced that they had split with Wirth Research after a lengthy internal review led by former Renault engineering director Pat Symonds found that the team's Computational fluid dynamics-only approach had not yielded the expected results.
Virgin's car for 2010, the VR-01, was the first F1 car designed entirely using CFD computer simulation technology. It was later discovered that the Virgin VR-01's fuel tank was too small, resulting in the team not being able to finish any races unless the cars are driven at a reduced pace to conserve fuel. The team was given the opportunity to redesign the chassis. On 17 November 2009 it was announced by the team that former Toyota driver Timo Glock would be the team's lead driver for the 2010 season. Glock was signed for two years and had a one-year extension offer as well. Long-time Brazilian GP2 regular Lucas di Grassi joined him, while fellow former GP2 driver Luiz Razia fulfilled testing and reserve duties. Álvaro Parente was also signed as a test driver, but left the team prior to the launch of the VR-01. Andy Soucek was signed as his replacement, but left the team in August due to a lack of testing opportunities. The 2010 car was officially launched on their website on 3 February 2010, before running the car at a private event at Silverstone the following two days.
The team recorded its first double finish at the Spanish Grand Prix and had another double finish, best of the new teams at the Turkish Grand Prix. Despite recording four further double finishes, the team finished at the bottom of the Constructors' Championship standings on a tie-breaker, as their best result – 14th-place finishes for di Grassi in Malaysia and Glock in Japan – placed them lower than Lotus Racing and Hispania Racing in the standings.
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Virgin purchased twenty percent of the team, as part of sponsorship arrangement. The official FIA entry list for 2010 announced on 30 November 2009 showed that Manor GP had been entered as Virgin Racing. The team's partners for 2010 include tyre supplier Bridgestone, IT services company UST Global, environmental technology company Carbon Green, shampoo brand Clear, information technology firm CSC, foreign exchange traders FxPro, clothing company Kappa, the Oxigen investment group and Russian sports car manufacturer Marussia. On 13 January 2010, reports emerged revealing that Virgin had paid an extra one and a half million pounds to Cosworth to have the CA2010 unit rebranded as a Marussia, though both Virgin Racing and Cosworth have denied the story.
On 14 December 2009, Lloyds Banking Group announced that it had invested ten million pounds in the team, reversing the recent trend of financial institutions such as ING and RBS withdrawing sponsorship. However, it remains unclear as to whether or not the Lloyds logo will appear on the cars.
Since the team was formed, it had been in a partnership with Russian car manufacturer Marussia and QNet since 2010. On 11 November 2010, Marussia acquired a controlling stake in the team and guaranteed the team's future until 2014. Marussia engineering director Nikolai Fomenko has stated that the team would race with a Russian licence in 2011, becoming the second Russian team in the sport after Midland. Director Nick Wirth announced that it was a major financial boost for the team and that it will allow it to promote Formula One in Russia. The team also announced that their computational fluid dynamics (CFD) facility would be upgraded, to become the third largest such facility in the world.
Having previously driven for the team during Friday practice sessions at selected events in 2010, Jérôme d'Ambrosio replaced Lucas di Grassi in the team's second seat alongside Timo Glock for the 2011 season. Following a disappointing start to the season, the team ended its partnership with Wirth Research. The team retained Pat Symonds as a technical consultant, though he could not be employed directly until his ban expired over his role in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix race fixing at the end of the 2013 season. The team has abandoned using CFD as its sole R&D tool and signed an agreement with McLaren to use their technical facilities, simulators and wind tunnel.
Complete Formula One results
(key) (results in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|2010||VR-01||Cosworth CA2010 2.4 V8||B||BHR||AUS||MAL||CHN||ESP||MON||TUR||CAN||EUR||GBR||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||SIN||JPN||KOR||BRA||ABU||0||12th|
|Lucas di Grassi||Ret||Ret||14||Ret||19||Ret||19||19||17||Ret||Ret||18||17||20†||15||DNS||Ret||NC||18|
|2011||MVR-02||Cosworth CA2011 2.4 V8||P||AUS||MAL||CHN||TUR||ESP||MON||CAN||EUR||GBR||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||SIN||JPN||KOR||IND||ABU||BRA||0||12th|
- † – The driver did not finish the Grand Prix, but was classified as he completed over 90% of the race distance.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Virgin Racing.|
- "FIA announces 2010 F1 entry list". autosport.com. Haymarket Media. 12 June 2009. Retrieved 1 November 2009.
- "Fifteen teams lodged F1 entries". autosport.com. Haymarket Media. 12 June 2009. Retrieved 1 November 2009.
- Noble, Jonathan (12 January 2009). "Booth replaces Tai as Virgin Racing boss". Autosport. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
- "Wirth Research to Relocate Next Year". motorsport.co.uk. 16 July 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
- Straw, Edd (1 June 2011). "Virgin parts company with Wirth". Autosport. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- Buxton, Will (15 December 2009). "Virgin Racing to launch Driver Academy". Retrieved 16 December 2009.
- Edd Straw, (18 June 2009). Autosport (p. 10)
- "Virgin Racing admit their fuel tank may be too small to last the race". The Guardian. UK: Guardian Media Group. 26 March 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
- "Glock to lead new Manor F1 team". BBC Sport. BBC. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009.
- "Virgin Racing com carro e sem Parente". desporto.autohoje.com (in Portuguese). Motorpress Lisboa. 3 February 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- "Soucek to quit Virgin over breach of contract". en.espnf1.com. ESPN. 10 August 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
- "Virgin 'virtual' Formula 1 challenger becomes reality". BBC Sport. BBC. 3 February 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
- "Virgin to launch car online". Autosport. Haymarket Publications. 29 January 2010. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
- Beer, Matt (31 January 2010). "Virgin set for Silverstone shakedown". Autosport. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
- Noble, Jonathan (3 July 2009). "Virgin set for Manor GP move". Autosport. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
- "Twelve teams – including Virgin – on FIA's 2010 entry list". formula1.com. Formula One Administration. 30 November 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
- "Virgin Racing Formula One Team Selects UST Global as its IT Services Partner". EuroInvestor. Euroinvestor A/S. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- "UST Global to partner Virgin Racing for F1". The Times of India. India: The Times Group. 19 February 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
- "Marussia to brand Virgin engines". GrandPrix.com. 13 January 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
- Beer, Matt (14 December 2009). "Lloyds invests in Manor F1 team". Autosport. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
- "Virgin Racing goes Full-Tilt". Virgin Racing. Virgin Group. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "Dream. Perform. Achieve". Marussia. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
- "QNet's Branding Goes Global in Tie-Up with Marussia and Virgin Racing". The Malaysian Insider. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
- Noble, Jonathan (11 November 2010). "Russian car maker takes stake in Virgin". Autosport. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- Holt, Sarah (11 November 2010). "Russian supercar firm Marussia takes over Virgin Racing". BBC Sport. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi: BBC. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Команда "Ф-1" Marussia будет выступать под российским флагом – Фоменко". sport.rian.ru (in Russian). RIA Novosti. 3 February 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
- "F1 Marussia Virgin Racing team to compete under Russian flag". RIA Novosti. 3 February 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
- Noble, Jonathan (11 November 2010). "Virgin: CFD boost will set F1 benchmark". Autosport. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "The new face of Marussia Virgin Racing". Virgin Racing. Virgin Group. 21 December 2010. Archived from the original on 24 December 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
- Straw, Edd (1 June 2011). "Virgin parts company with Wirth". Autosport. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- Noble, Jonathan (4 July 2011). "Virgin enters into technical partnership with McLaren". Autosport. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 29 July 2011.