2011 F1 season
Virgin technical director Nick Wirth says the team investigated producing its own version of Renault’s distinctive front exit exhausts.
Wirth said the team ran a model in their simulator:
“We’d heard about that towards the end of last year. It’s very cost-effective and easy for us to check other solutions out so I can confirm that we have tried a solution very similar to what you see on the other car and it gives results that are very different from ours. We’ve actually gone so far as to get our drivers to test it on the simulator to see.
“We can see why they’ve done it but it takes a team of the financial, human and technical resources of Renault – or Lotus – to make that happen. If you’re fighting where they are you might be interested in doing it but we’re happy with the solution we’ve got.
“It is a massive, massive undertaking what they’ve done, getting high-temperature exhaust gasses past the fuel system, past the cooling system, past wiring, hydraulics and, most important, getting it past safety structures, the side impact structures which are not normally tested at anything other than room temperature.
“So they’ve obviously got to satisfy the FIA that it’s legal, even when it’s hot, so that’s just a massive job and hats off to them for having the bravery to do something like that.”
Wirth added that the regulation changes over the winter should play into Virgin’s hands:
“We did not have a blown diffuser last year which was one of the key technologies. The two interesting things that people were talking about last year, apart from general performance, was the F-duct and the blown diffuser.
“With the F-duct we’ve obviously got the movable rear wing and I think we’ve done a pretty good job on that packaging-wise with its performance.
“The blown diffuser’s been very interesting and there’s certainly some very interesting solutions out there already. We have one which we’ve focused on and we hope proves effective. It certainly looks to be in the wind tunnel.”
Update: A spokesperson clarified Wirth’s remark about the wind tunnel, confirming that the car had not been run in a wind tunnel and said Wirth presumably meant to say CFD.
Image © Julien Leroy / firstlap.be