Virgin MVR-02 launch – first pictures

2011 F1 cars

Virgin have launched their 2011 F1 car, the MVR-02.

The car was launched at BBC Television Centre in London.

As last year, the car was designed entirely using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), without using a wind tunnel.

Following the arrival of Russian sports car company Maurssia as an investor the team are now registered under a Russian licence. The air intake on the front of the MVR-02 is designed to resemble the one on Marussia’s B2 road car.

The car will run for the first time in the Jerez test later this week. Some of the car’s internals, including its hydraulics, were already run on the VR-01 at Valencia last week.

Designer Nick Wirk confirmed the MVR-02 has not been designed to use KERS, citing the expense of developing the technology as a reason for its absence.

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185 comments on Virgin MVR-02 launch – first pictures

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  1. I’m underwhelmed!! :)

    • Maciek said on 7th February 2011, 11:47

      yeah, looks like it’s going nowhere fast. At least the livery is a slight improvement… I think? Looks a bit dinky.

    • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 7th February 2011, 11:56

      Underwhelmed is the perfect word. I wasn’t keen on last year’s, but now they’ve lost the tribal pattern and added the white it looks even more like it’s made out of lego.

    • Oliver said on 7th February 2011, 12:43

      It’s obvious Wirth’s CFD doesn’t yet support under body aerodynamics, so he has chosen to ignore it.
      Okay he chiselled the sidepods a bit, but that isn’t from CFD, but from visual inspection of other team cars.

      Teams with the raised nose have decided to sacrifice some losses in drag for maximising downforce, but Wirth is looking for straight line speed, forgetting that F1 is really more about what you do in the corners.

      It should be faster than last years car even though that isn’t as a result of CFD but copying a few design cues from the established teams.

      If you program your CFD to say yes! yes! yes! for any design that its fed, this is what you end up with as the output.

      • I think they’ve forgotten to update their CFD program to the 2011 version.

        Always keep up to date with the latest versions of your software, people!

      • miguelF1O (@) said on 7th February 2011, 18:50

        yep not good enough

      • Isn’t the nose discussion the other way around? With a nose that is pointed down, there is a larger surface area that is exposed to the oncoming air, creating a higher downwards force. With a nose pointed straight forwards, the air is channeled under and over the nose. One would think that this would create less force acting to push the front wheels down… Or at least that’s my reasoning, please correct me if I’m wrong.

        • Mike (@mike) said on 8th February 2011, 8:17

          You’d be right, but the high nose allows for cleaner airflow under the car, especially to the rear diffuser and rear wing. This is what they are refering to.

          I think… :/

    • SeattleChris (@seattlechris) said on 7th February 2011, 14:46

      I feel like the Virgin team mistakingly thinks that the ugliest, plainest, worst design is what F1 is all about… I wonder if Nick thinks the highest score wins the hole in golf too?

    • infy (@infy) said on 7th February 2011, 23:17

      About the same level as the lotus.

  2. killer!

    hope it smashes the rear end of the grid!

    • I dont know what that means, but.. Yay! Go Team!

      • more pics here

        Timo will chomp up back markers with this for sure!

        • SeattleChris (@seattlechris) said on 7th February 2011, 15:07

          Okay, so comparing last years car to this year what we can see aero-wise that should improve the car is that the nose is much much wider than last years and has a scalloped shape rather than rounded. Additionally have a look at the front end of the floor; its much longer and is supported by a bit of carbon fiber attaching the front. I suspect this alone will make the car 3-4 seconds a lap faster. The other noticeable change is the rear suspension arms are attachaed much further forward and sweep back. Oh, and the radiator openings are rounded though I don’t think the computer got that part of the equation quite right.

  3. Dave M said on 7th February 2011, 11:40

    Looks just like last year’s machine with a splodge of white on the nose. Maybe this is all that the CFD can produce.

    • The front wing looks much more involved. I cant remember last years front wing.

      The underside of the car will be telling too. But yeah, I’m not grabbed by my senses and flung through an epic journey excitement and discovery by it, that’s for sure.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th February 2011, 11:50

      It’s got a bigger fuel tank!

      Seriously, at first sight I really had a bit of trouble finding the differences apart from the white nose.

      But after having a closer look, it seems the nose is just as low this year, clearly against the general trend. It is wider, just like all the noses. The back looks pretty large, altough it is low.
      A moment ago the pictures and tech data they had on their site disappeared again, what is that about?

      • It’s sponsored by Virgin Media? So it has unreliable internet access as standard. Plus there’s a days delay on the call out to have a look at it every time. Alternatively someone in a call center might be able to press a button and reset the whole site, but they could be based in India, and may not understand the accent… So to be honest, it’s best to wait :)

        • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 7th February 2011, 12:01

          On the plus side, virtually every issue can be resolved by “doing a hard reset” – i.e. turning it off and on again. Will be useful when those gearbox gremlins creep in!

        • I have been with Virgin media for around 10 years (through various company changes) and I can only remember maybe 3 times where my internet has gone down. To be honest, although their call centre is dire the actual services have been fantastic for me.

          • I was with Virgin Media, back when they were NTL and for a few years after… I can tell you stories that would make your brain hurt.

            I can’t stand them. Not the management as such, but what they inherited. Nightmare, I’ve got a headache just thinking about it.

            ( they actually gave me something like 6 months of free services, because they screwed up so often.. of course, I had to call them every other day to sort it all out )

          • I’ve found Virgin Media pretty good in the 6 years I’ve been with them.

            Although I did have to talk to 7 different people over the course of 3 phone calls and 2 hours to get them to re-activate my subscription in-between uni years.

    • SeattleChris (@seattlechris) said on 7th February 2011, 14:49

      That is exactly my sentiments. I still feel that Keith somehow posted the file C:/F1Launches/Virgin/VirginLaunch2010 instead of the ”””’/…2011 file.
      What is different about this car? Honestly, the car was slow last year, why make the same slow car again? They’d have been much smarter trying to draw up a car based on the RB6 aero.

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 7th February 2011, 21:37

        Yep. The Team Lotus approach of putting together something vastly different from last year and much more aggressive would have been the approach to take. You’d think with all their CFD power as well, it would be much more feasible for them to test a multitude of designs than other teams who are using models in wind tunnels… Maybe the secrets are all in the floor and it’ll be shockingly fast, but I doubt it.

      • DaveW said on 7th February 2011, 22:43

        Well, that’s a fascinating element of F1 design. Why not just copy the WCC car? We HAVE seen teams apparently basically rip off the form of other cars. Toyota once basically cloned a Ferrari, STR ran basically identical cars to RBR a couple seasons. It certainly didn’t seem to mean they had performance better than rivals who went their own way. In the end, if you basically trace a successful car, but don’t understand the concept and its finer elements, you are stuck at whatever level of performance you get out of the box—or worse, end up with a basically unbalanced car that you can’t set up. Cloning a Newey car seems especially hazardous, where the details are driven as much by immense experience and keen instinct, as much as CFD.

        • SeattleChris (@seattlechris) said on 8th February 2011, 4:54

          I agree with your thoughts, only that in this case the car was 3-4 seconds a lap too slow last year and I can’t see that gap disappearing without making major changes in line with what other teams were doing last year that they were not. One can’t copy something and expect the same results, but the ideas that are there to see can be tested and implemented. Further, the STR and Red Bull cars have had different engine suppliers so it is tough to say that the aero on the STR was all that poor. The car did quite well on numerous occassions so perhaps copying the big sister isn’t such a bad idea in the end (when you have a limited budget).

          • BasCB said on 8th February 2011, 7:22

            That was the reason Williams and Force India (Spyker at the time) were so much against it.

            There they were, working hard and putting a load of effort into building their own contraption and along comes STR without any development cost safe putting a Ferrari engine into the RB car and they win a race!

            As for the Virgin. I am very much suprised as well, the car looks so close to last years.
            It can hardly be a big improvement, just getting the hydraulics working (that helps their woefull reliability, not speed) and polishing out the details, can it?
            If it does work, they will really make a lot of others look fools for putting in all their effort ;-)

  4. SammyT said on 7th February 2011, 11:41

    Awesome car…

    • Scribe (@scribe) said on 7th February 2011, 16:09

      lol more liek


      Please let him go to Renault, that’s not going to be battling the established teams.

      • Mike (@mike) said on 8th February 2011, 8:23

        What are you guys basing your criticisms on? I mean come on! sure it doesn’t look special, but hell, have you guys seen it on track or something?

        Personally I hope they can move up closer to the mid-field, I think aiming to be in the mid-field is aiming to high, but getting closer is a requirement.

  5. Nickthegeek said on 7th February 2011, 11:42

    Did they change anything, hard to tell on mobile?

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 7th February 2011, 11:53

      Its hard to judge from only a couple of photos. At first glance, other than the splash of white paint on the nose, the car chassis looks almost identical to last years car, although the rear end packaging seems a little neater.

      Nothing radical or innovative on this machine, and I expect it to be only in front of Narain and the second HRT driver.

  6. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 7th February 2011, 11:42

    The head on image reveals a lot more, I’m assuming it’ll be up soon. When I first saw that image I thought I’d clicked the wrong link!

    The front wing is very RB6-ey and the sidepods look very Ferrari F10-ey…

  7. it does look good. always liked the red on black, and now they’ve added a bit more white..

    is that all they have done :\ i thouight they had doubled their budget..? if they did they havn’t doubled their effort :\

    I hope force india make up for this tomorrow.. though i can’t see it :\

  8. sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 7th February 2011, 11:45

    gotta hope they don’t regret their gearbox choice

  9. CovertGiblets said on 7th February 2011, 11:48

    Interesting to see they’ve persisted with the nose design and not gone down the more fashionable “high” route.

  10. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 7th February 2011, 11:50

    Nice! Okay it’s not too different from last year’s car, but that looked good too. I love the nose and the livery has been touched up nicely too.

  11. codesurge said on 7th February 2011, 11:50

    It’s a pity they’ve lost the tribal print pattern; thought that made for a refreshing change on the VR-01.

    • Personally, I don’t think a team should have a tribal print pattern, unless they’re prepared to do the haka before every race.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th February 2011, 11:58

      I liked it as well. But it would look to cluttered with the added grey/white stripe and Marussia thing.

      Interesting front opening form, a bit of a Marussia logo in that.

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 7th February 2011, 12:21

        It looked like a mouth with teeth in to me – very agressive :-p

        I too liked the tribal stuff, but I like this new, cleaner livery better, I think. I also just realized that the front wing endplates used to be red and are now black – it looks better this way.

        • BasCB said on 8th February 2011, 7:26

          That is probably done so we can see from a distance weather it’s a Renault or a Virgin.

          They got me confused in the tests, saw red endplates front and back and thought it was a Virgin, only to realise that was Petrov lapping!

    • Scribe (@scribe) said on 7th February 2011, 16:11


      this, best bit of livery all last year. Tribal patern made the entire car.

  12. topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 7th February 2011, 11:54

    Very interesting lowish nose tip – do they have a cunning plan for getting air under it?

    • Increase the frame rate?

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th February 2011, 12:00

      To me it seems it is even lower than last years nose. Interesting, if it will work for them, what do they know, that others don’t?

      • Scribe (@scribe) said on 7th February 2011, 16:15

        @BacCB, or alternativley, what do the others know that they don’t? Use a windtunnel I suspect. There’s generally a reason for F1 trends and if the trend merley stregthens over 3 years, with all the top teams subscribing to it. The little team swimming in the opposite direction probably ain’t on to a winner.

    • mildertduck said on 7th February 2011, 12:49

      The one thing which always strikes me as odd with these pointy noses is that a few seasons ago, the car with the lowest nose always seemed to do well. Now, they seem to be getting higher and higher – I wonder if MVR have played a good card here? On saying that, the body and sidepods do look very “blocky”. Let’s see how it goes in testing!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th February 2011, 13:07

      Very interesting lowish nose tip – do they have a cunning plan for getting air under it?

      The nose is low, but the sidepods are high. The entire point of having a high nose is to get air to flow into the sidepods. But when your sidepods are high, you can have a low nose. McLaren did the same thing.

    • As to getting air under the car, if you look at the insides of the front wing, I think they’re angled in such a way that the air will deflect towards the centre of the car.

  13. With all this talk of CFD, I am starting to wonder if they design their cars using Lego Racer… :S

  14. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 7th February 2011, 11:59

    Actually I do have one disappointment: that this and other cars with blank spaces don’t have the driver number and name filling in the gaps.

    • GeorgeTuk (@georgetuk) said on 7th February 2011, 12:07

      Very odd to have such a low nose, contrary to the entire rest of the grid so far.

      Of course it could be a cunning plan but I think thats unlikely.

      I still think that pure CFD is good at keeping costs down but real life application is always a winner.

    • Numbers should be big and on the nose and rear wing end-plates, like the early 90’s.

      Just read in the FIA tech specs that the numbers only have to be displayed on the nose, and only need to be 25cm tall. They don’t even have to be displayed on the side of the car at all.

  15. Aetost (@aetost) said on 7th February 2011, 12:03

    Hopefully, yes…
    Otherwise, Nick Wirth’s first word upon looking Ferrari’s new nose would have been: “Oops!..”
    And unless my eyes and limited knowledge fails me, despite the low nose, they still persist in using the paleolithic single keel design to mount the front suspension.

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