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

  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th February 2011, 12:19

    I like the way they have a nice big number on the nose. Force India in particular are notorious for using very small numbers – they favour the space on the front wing between the uprights because it’s tiny and the rules mandate that they must have a number on the car, but to put it on the nose fills in valuable sponsor space. But Virgin have a nice big one.

  2. BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th February 2011, 12:21

    Anyone had a chance to do a comparison of the cars yet?

    ?body=http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=21909&id=100001805515640&l=b1b384a372&subject=7 februari 2011 – Virgin Racing 2011 car

  3. “Quick”

  4. Is that a F1 car? Either brave or stupid…Bahrain will tell

  5. alexf1man said on 7th February 2011, 12:55

    Is this the first car to ever be launched at a Television Centre in any motorsport – maybe a world record :-)

    It looks ok, nothing too radical but clearly copying the late season Red Bull RB6 nosecone like many others.

  6. box this lap (@sebashuis) said on 7th February 2011, 13:00

    I;m goign to do some research to the Marussia brand, never heard of them. and it seems a lot of sponsors came and a lot of sponsors left.

  7. judo chop said on 7th February 2011, 13:10

    The thing I don’t understand is why Virgin isn’t nicking design cues from the rest of the field. All other teams react to developments by their competitors – high nose, shark fin etc – but their design team seems oblivious their rivals.

    • Because there’s no point in stealing design ideas from other cars unless you understand how they work and can integrate them into your overall design. The devil is not just in the detail, but in understanding how all of that detail works and how it can be made to work together as a package.

      Simply making your new car look like a Red Bull doesn’t mean it will go as quickly. It’s just the motor racing equivalent of go faster stripes.

      For example, the highly successful Williams FW07 was essentially a copy of the Lotus 79 – but Patrick Head was clever enough to understand how the Lotus worked and where it could actually be improved. By contrast, the March 811 was a straight copy of a customer FW07 (literally, March simply measured everything and recreated it) but flopped badly.

      • judo chop (@judo-chop) said on 7th February 2011, 17:42

        @Tim
        “there’s no point in stealing design ideas from other cars unless you understand how they work and can integrate them into your overall design”

        I agree but the thing with Virgin is that it’s like they’re not even trying (even Lotus nicked Mercedes’ air inlet fin). Seems like Virgin designed a car that’s likely to be at the back of the grid and can’t be bothered to scratch their heads as to why.

    • The Last Pope (@the-last-pope) said on 7th February 2011, 13:31

      Nick Wirth: Maybe we should copy some of the other teams design ideas from last year?.

      CFD Operator: Hmm (yawns), lets see (taps on keyboard)…. Computer says No.

      NW: Oh?, ok then, should we change the design at all?

      CFD O: (sighs then taps on keyboard)….Computer says No.

  8. nicolis said on 7th February 2011, 13:20

    will lose to hrt again

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 7th February 2011, 13:36

      Unfortunately, Narain isn’t upto the challenge . Unless HRT hire a much stronger 2nd driver, I think Virgin will just about finish higher than HRT

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 7th February 2011, 18:29

        That’s a point: we’ve done one test and HRT still haven’t got a second driver.

        • HRT aren’t slated to show their car for another 3 weeks… One does wonder what on earth they are doing! You would assume financial difficulties have held them back.

          But if they are taking the time to build a proper racer, then they’ve got plenty of food for thought from the rest of the paddock this year. They are many different approaches being testing, so.. we’ll see what they churn out.

          • BasCB said on 8th February 2011, 7:35

            I suspect Kolles of doing it for the thrill of it. Last year gave him a big boost, having the second car ready in the nick of time for Qualifying.
            So where’s the hurry, he’ll have a lot to do not to beat that.

            This might actually be the reason for Virgin not trying harder. They saw reliability was key to getting 11th for HRT and Lotus will be faster anyhow. So now with minimal effort they beat HRT and still have a shot at STR and Lotus in some races.

  9. Dipak T said on 7th February 2011, 13:24

    I dont get why there ios so much hating of the MVR-02 around here. So from first glance its not radical – did anybody expect as much? Did aybody question McLarens low nose (compared to the rest of the field)?

    Virgin represent the essence of F1 – innovation, ie making CFD a more powerful and cheaper tool. This is reminiscent of the reaction to Renault when they first brought turbos onto the grid. And then what happened?

    If they can get the CFD to work so well that wind tunnel use can be scaled back, maybe all that extra money can be spent on, I dunno, engines?

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 7th February 2011, 13:46

      Dipak, I dont think its about ‘hating’. People are posting their honest opinions on the car. And after some of Nick Wirth’s blunders last year, you cannot expect everyone to have positive and inspirational comments on Virgins 2011 prospects. Especially, considering that it looks exactly the same as last years design.

      Sure they are trying something different with CFD, and I respect them for that. But as a viewer of the sport, I am not concerned with the money they save in wind tunnel testing. I’m more interested in seeing a fast car, or at least an innovative attempt.

    • Solo (@solo) said on 7th February 2011, 14:31

      Innovating? Innovations means doing something new. All teams have been using CFD a lot time before Virgin Racing appeared. They just do even more.
      They just don’t have the money for aero-tunnels really.

      Anyway no one hates them. It’s just that considering those cars needed to find at least few seconds and not just a few tenths of improvement, the fact that that car looks so similar seems very strange and worrying.
      Team Lotus completely changed there car trying to find the time needed and yet Virgin looks to have made changes that will give them only a second at best.
      Personally am especially shocked on how the side-pods look instead of the nose not being high. They hardly changed. They look really simple looking comparing to the work all the other teams made.

      • Don Mateo said on 7th February 2011, 18:00

        I think that if they don’t see some tangible improvement this year, they’ll seriously have to reconsider the CFD-only approach. Kudos to them for trying something different, and if it does yield some success then it’ll make all the other teams rethink their business models, but if this approach doesn’t get them to the front then they’ll have to revert to doing it like everyone else – unless they want to be permanently rooted to the back.

        I’m underwhelmed by this car as it doesn’t look any different to last year’s, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt for now – maybe there’s something on it that leads to a substantial improvement in performance that my non-technical mind can’t see.

  10. Klon (@klon) said on 7th February 2011, 13:30

    The air intake on the front of the MVR-02 is designed to resemble the one on Marussia’s B2 road car.

    This made my a bit suspicious. Maybe that’s just me, though, but it sounds like a bad idea to design a part of your F1 car after something out of a road model.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 7th February 2011, 13:37

      But it is just the little hole on the tip of the nose to cool the suspension/drivers feet.

      I rather doubt it has a very big influence. So if it can be done without influencing the performance of the car, it is nice to actually be able to add something reminding of the roadcar of the sponsor/co-owner, isn’t it? Rather clever.

    • More concerning to me is why they bother with this at all…

      I’d much rather my designers focus on real ways to make the car faster, especially for a team with limited resources.

    • Andy C said on 7th February 2011, 14:32

      Thank goodness they are not sponsored by Rolls Royce then. :-)

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th February 2011, 15:11

        I would love having their silver spirit on the air box though!

        • aaah, maybe the camera position? With her eyes are hole for a 3D camera? Niccceeeee :)

          • BasCB said on 8th February 2011, 7:40

            Now that would be a great idea! Shame Rolls Royce is now BMW. They will never put that brand in F1.

            Maybe Jaguar can have another try, the chinese could just buy out HRT easily, Kolles will be happy to run the team for whoever pays.

  11. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 7th February 2011, 13:42

    Looks a little on the tiny side..or maybe that’s the low nose throwing me off. Boring as hell livery but glad they got rid of that silly pattern they had going on last year.

  12. xtophe said on 7th February 2011, 14:16

    That is one ugly car.

  13. i feel there are hardly any updates on the car besides the new nose, and the car is prolly lower than last years. They could have easily gone to copy one of winning cars last season, but they choose to go with their own way… lets see where they measure up on the track against their own expectation. i kinda like this team it’s doing it’s own thing, it’s not claiming past glory or something, it’s only doing CFD… they may or may not succeed, but atleast they are fresh / original.

  14. Why is everybody being so negative about this car? Nobody has seen it in action, and there are loads of subtle developments to this car over last years.

    I’d also like to add that CFD doesn’t design the car, thats done by humans! CFD just models the flow of air over the car (i.e. tests the aerodynamics) so it still is a human being designing the bits and pieces attached to the car! So thinking outside the box is still completely possible, it is then just aero tested by the CFD!

    • DobarDabar said on 7th February 2011, 15:10

      That’s because there is no innovation in this new car, and one of the primary driving force in formula 1 is technical evolution/innovation that people like. This is cowardly design that I hope will fail. And that is also why I salute McLaren’s MP4-26!

      • And what kind of expert exactly are you to be able to see if there is any innovation in this car? If they are closer to the midfield than last year they’ll’ve made a step forward – which is all that can be expected from a brand new team on a low budget. I don’t expect the lotus to be much further ahead either.

      • So designing a modern F1 car without using a windtunnel is cowardly?

        The all-CFD approach may turn out to be inspired or utterly misguided, but either way it isn’t cowardly.

        • DobarDabar said on 7th February 2011, 18:28

          I am even sure that CFD is the future of car design. It is not CFD that I’m questioning it is the will to try something new using CFD. Ok, maybe I went to far with this “cowardly” design, but at the end it says that I am disappointed, as many are.

  15. Aetost (@aetost) said on 7th February 2011, 15:20

    Well, leaving the jokes and the low nose criticism aside, creating an evolutionary design is the most logical solution. Think about it, they are new in the business, have limited budget and they are using never-before tried techniques. Trying to extract as much potential as possible from an existing concept is the only way to go. The risk is so much smaller

  16. Im a little underwhelmed like others. Im not saying i was expecting a Redbull or a Macca, but it looks a little too much like last years, only with a much better front wing. I know that they have a budget which they want to speak to, but i feel they could have thrown their nets out a little further and be a little more daring, rather then playing it safe again.

    Its still a good looing car though, Red & Black always looks sexy on race cars. I hope they do well and earn some points, Virgin (and T.Lotus) come across as being very Fan friendly and its hard to not to like them or want them to do well. I hope they do (/w Lotus ofc) and make the grid alot more interesting.

    • oh, and i meant to say that i think designing it with the intention of not fitting KERS in at some stage is a mistake. Again, i know its a cost thing, but if KERS proves to make such a difference and is the thing between achieving 10th or 11th, then it could be disasterous not to have thought about making allowances. I know Lotus havent either, but they have said that their design should allow it to be fitted if choosen later.

    • We should try to remember here, that maybe just like the other teams, we aren’t seeing the finished article?

  17. I really like it! Looks nice, hated the tribal design on last years cars. With the backing of a sports car company hopefully they’ll improve!

  18. McG (@mcg) said on 7th February 2011, 15:47

    It looks more functional than last years, but the exhausts don’t look very functional. Where are they blowing onto? Nowhere?

    The livery looks quite nice. Liiks like it’s glowing white hot as it’s going so fast!

    I hope they do well, it’s nice to see backmarkers coming through and mixing it up.

  19. YeaMon said on 7th February 2011, 16:08

    I think it’s nice looking livery wise. Unfortunately some people can never be pleased, but I think they did a good job.

    As for the car I hope it’s a stride forward for the team. I think the majority will say that lotus will out pace them, but I hope virgin can score a handful of points this season.

  20. I have a feeling this car will either be very fast or miserably miserably slow. I don’t think this is much of a middle ground car.

    • Really? I feel it’s the opposite. I think it’s an evolution and an improvement, but not a leap of faith. I think we’ll see it mid pack at best.

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