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Virgin Racing unveil 2011 Formula 1 car


Virgin Racing unveil 2011 challenger

By Sarah Holt

Virgin Racing have unveiled their 2011 car at BBC Television Centre in London.

The MVR-02 has been designed to meet the new season's regulation changes but the British-based team have opted not to use the Kers power-boost device.

Timo Glock and rookie driver Jerome D'Ambrosio will run the 2011 car at the Jerez test, which begins on Thursday.

Glock said: "Realistically you do not make up three or four seconds over the winter, but hopefully we can be closer to the midfield teams."

Virgin joined Formula 1 in 2010 as one of three new teams on the grid but finished bottom of the team standings behind fellow newcomers Lotus and Hispania, who also failed to score a point.

Reliability problems and an ignominious failure to build a fuel tank large enough for the cars to finish the race blighted Virgin's start to the campaign.

However, the team have vowed not to make the same mistakes in their second season.

You never catch up three or four seconds over the winter but we have to be closer to the midfield teams and make our way up

Virgin driver Timo Glock

"What caught us out was the challenge of reliability, [such as] hydraulics and gearbox, and that's been a massive focus for us in 2011," said technical director Nick Wirth.

"We're just better prepared this season. We have done a huge amount of the development on the physics.

"In every single way this car is better and faster than last year. I can't wait for the drivers to get out there and try it on the track."

Glock, who is preparing for his fourth season in F1, added: "We had some hard times.

"When I came back in after some last laps [at the] Valencia [test] that was it for my car and I said to all the mechanics: 'What shall we do with the car, shall we hit it pretty hard because it gave us such a hard time?'

"I think we came out of the year much, much stronger. It was character building I'd say.

"We have to be really strong, to finish with both cars and maybe grab that point in the first race or a very good two-car finish and work from that onwards.

"We have a much better baseline this year, we're much more solid.

"[But] we have to be realistic, we were three or four seconds off the pace last year and you never catch up three or four seconds over the winter but we have to be closer to the midfield teams and make our way up."

Virgin driver Timo Glock and Jerome D'Ambrosio
Glock joked that he wouldn't show the ropes to rookie D'Ambrosio

Glock will be partnered by Belgian D'Ambrosio, who was signed up in place of Lucas di Grassi after taking part in four Friday first practice sessions for Virgin last season.

"It's an opportunity I hope to make the most of," said D'Ambrosio, who revealed he had already been nicknamed 'Custard' by the team.

A black curtain was dramatically dropped to the floor to reveal Virgin's 2011 car, which has again been wholly designed using computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

The car is designed to be reliable and easy on this season's Pirelli tyres and with no Kers on board Virgin have not had the packaging headaches experienced by other teams.

The MVR-02 was largely a continuation of the 2010 concept with a low nose and high and horizontal sidepod intakes similar to those seen on McLaren's 2010 car.

Most teams use CFD alongside wind-tunnels, a tool for shaping a car's aerodynamics that has been de rigueur in F1 for 30 years, but Wirth is confident in his reliance on computer technology.

"It is the future and I believe what we're doing is pioneering a revolution in car design," Wirth explained.

"We haven't seen everybody's 2011 car but we're happy with the solution we've got. In every single way this car is faster and better than last year's. I can't wait for the drivers to try it out and see how it performs on the track."

Virgin have also opted not to run with Kers, which returns to the sport after being abandoned in 2010.

"The fact is it is extremely expensive and extremely heavy and it is worth about three tenths of a second - we're after three seconds," Wirth added.

Team boss John Booth described the new car as "a step forward" and Virgin will get the first chance to find out at the second pre-season test which begins in Jerez on Thursday.

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see also
Jerome d'Ambrosio profile
26 Nov 11 |  Drivers & Teams
Virgin give D'Ambrosio 2011 seat
21 Dec 10 |  Formula 1
Glock to stay at Virgin in 2011
03 Dec 10 |  Formula 1
Virgin give car Silverstone test
05 Feb 10 |  Formula 1
Virgin Racing
14 Nov 10 |  Drivers & Teams

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