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Virgin strikes technical partnership with McLaren
Virgin has secured a long-term technical partnership with McLaren in the hope of moving up the grid over the coming years.
Virgin split with its technical director Nick Wirth earlier this year after its commitment to CFD car design failed to yield results. The team will now have access to "McLaren facilities, knowledge and capabilities", which will include the use of McLaren's Woking-based wind tunnel, test rigs and driver simulator.
McLaren staff will join the current workforce at the team, which has purchased the Wirth Racing Technologies (WRT) business and premises in Banbury. Its long-term plan is to bring all of its operations under one roof in a new tailor-made facility in two years' time.
"When we undertook our detailed review of the team in the first half of 2011, it was clear that our bold ambitions for the future would need to be matched with some equally bold steps towards achieving them," the team's CEO Andy Webb said. "I am delighted that in a relatively short space of time we are now in the fantastic position of being able to make these two very important announcements, which will enable us to make some dramatic strides forward with immediate effect.
"Our Technical Partnership with McLaren is very exciting indeed. McLaren is one of the most prestigious and successful marques in grand prix racing history, with an enviable record of success over many years. We can benefit enormously from McLaren's far-reaching techniques and capabilities and I have no doubt that this Partnership will see us take the technical steps necessary to make a significant leap forwards.
"In addition, our acquisition of the WRT Formula One business ensures continuity of technical infrastructure for the period ahead, which means that the transition to working with our new technical partner can begin immediately and is not frustrated by logistical considerations. Our three-centre operation has served us well in our formative years but our ambitions for the future will rely on the full might of the team coming together under one roof."
McLaren CEO and team principal Martin Whitmarsh added: "McLaren Applied Technologies is delighted to have entered into a Technical Partnership with Marussia Virgin Racing. Under the terms of this Technical Partnership, Marussia Virgin Racing will be able to access McLaren's wind tunnel, simulator, rigs, and fitness and wellbeing programmes.
"These properties are state-of-the-art, and we confidently therefore expect Marussia Virgin Racing to derive significant benefits from them. During the period in which we were agreeing this deal, our experience of dealing with Andy [Webb] and his team was extremely positive and we recognise that he and his colleagues are very serious about making developments that will lift the competitiveness of their cars over the coming months and years. We wish them well."
Webb thanked ex-Renault technical director Pat Symonds, who has been working as a consultant for the team and helped bring about the changes.
"With Pat Symonds' continued involvement in the technical programme, we are confident that we have made all the right moves towards a successful future for Marussia Virgin Racing and we now head into one of the most important events for our team, the British Grand Prix, with renewed confidence and a great deal of excitement about the future," Webb said.
Virgin's existing agreement with its engine supplier Cosworth continues.