Jerome d'Ambrosio, Virgin, Monaco, 2011

Virgin splits from Wirth

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

In the round-up: Nick Wirth leaves Virgin as the team ditch their CFD-only approach.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Virgin parts company with Wirth (Autosport)

Virgin is also set to drop its all-CFD development strategy, which was key to it being able to afford to move into F1 in the first place. Now an established team in its second season, it is expected to start a windtunnel testing programme alongside ongoing CFD work.”

Bahrain Grand Prix organisers tell FIA they are adamant the country will be safe enough to reschedule race (Daily Telegraph)

“[Bahrain International Circuit chairman Zayed Rashid Alzayani] acknowledged that 24 of his 108 employees were detained. But he insisted the circuit is above politics and does not discriminate based on religion or sect.”

A familiar formula: hypocrisy and a fat cheque (The Times, subscription required)

“Since unarmed protests flared in Pearl Square, the Government has made hundreds of arrests, accelerated the use of torture and killed more than 30 people. Only a fool could fail to discern the political rationale of restaging the Grand Prix.”

Bahrain and F1 (Joe Saward)

“From what I understand the teams had a meeting in Monaco last Friday and decided that they are not going to race there this year. This was not based on any moral questions but rather on the date that was being offered to them.”

Aabar Investments Exploring Options Regarding Potential Co-operations Between Red Bull’s Corporate Projects and Abu Dhabi (PR Newswire)

“These exploratory talks are at a very early stage and are being held on board level of both companies. They comprise possible joint activities between Red Bull’s corporate projects and Abu Dhabi – they neither include Red Bull’s Formula 1 Teams nor Red Bull’s beverage business.”

Adrian Sutil Q&A: Monaco is always special for me (F1)

“I didn?t directly benefit from [the race suspension] because I changed my tyres before the red flag. A few other cars did benefit a lot because they actually got a free pit stop. I think it?s a good idea to have a look at that rule.”

Showcar Heads East To Help Japan (Red Bull)

“Red Bull’s Running Showcar will travel to Japan this weekend for two runs to help those who were affected by the recent earthquakes. At the wheel will be former Red Bull Racing reserve driver, and current Toro Rosso racer Sebastien Buemi.”

Post Monaco Q&A (Jenson Button)

“I could get close to them, but the only way I was really going to be able to force my way past was if one of them made a mistake or ran off line somewhere. But, I wasn?’t necessarily looking to push past ? I could see that Seb’s tyres were going off and that Fernando could sense there was a possibility to overtake. I was pretty much biding my time, waiting for Fernando to launch a move because it would have either ended with both of them crashing or with Fernando through into the lead and left me with a good chance to have a go at Seb.”

Murray Walker ‘lapped up Kitekat’ (The Guardian)

“The veteran pundit has now confessed to a less mouth-watering habit in the past ?ǣ eating cat food.”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

Andy C on the impact of Senna:

It really strikes home how big a collision the Rubens crash was, and also the Roland Ratzenberger crash was.

Having been lucky enough to attend the premier and hear the views of Brundle, Watkins and Fullerton to name a few, it is definitely worth watching.

Just prepare for the Imola weekend footage, as if you remember the emotions and watching it live as I do (as a kid) it all comes back to you.
Andy C

From the forum

If you had access to FOM’s F1 video archive, what would you look for first?

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Jayantj and Rahim.RG!

On this day in F1

Nelson Piquet scored his final F1 victory in the Canadian Grand Prix 20 years ago today.

Piquet scored a dramatic win after Nigel Mansell, who had led every lap, came to a halt on the final tour.

It was also the final win for a car on Pirelli tyres before the start of this year.

115 comments on “Virgin splits from Wirth”

  1. We need a KiteKat F1 livery! Forget red bulls, what about a cute kitty instead?

    1. Douglas 62500
      2nd June 2011, 16:10

      I want that blue 2007 Honda Earthdreams livery back !! or maybe some awesome spaceart livery !!

      1. The Sri Lankan
        2nd June 2011, 21:56

        you mean the Earthly nightmare livery?

  2. I have a bit of a problem with what Jenson said. Can’t help but feel that the “I wanted to wait back for them to take each other out” comment is somewhat of an excuse. Am I the only one who feels that, if that had been Lewis, he would have been putting far more pressure on Alonso? Jenson’s tires were many laps fresher than Alonso’s and Vettel’s. I kept thinking “Attack! Attack!” when Jenson caught up with the two of them, but he never really could keep up to make a move. Somewhat disappointing, really.

    1. Jenson’s a smart driver, and he’d just been told Vettel’s tyres were 3 laps away from falling off the cliff, he obviously figured better to wait and see what happened rather than tangle with Alonso.

      1. If he had pushed the guy a little, he’d be sure to push himn over the cliff.

    2. Well I don’t know, normally I would say I wish Lewis was in that position rather than JB, because Lewis is usually able to attack and pass better, but certainly not on that Monaco weekend. There is always going to be an element of luck in motorsport but in all honesty Lewis didn’t get much luck at all!

      But we have to remember JB was there by merit and surely, if the race had panned out normally, ie no red flags/safety cars, that race was Jenson’s! Just extremely ironic that it was Hamilton’s luck was so bad that when he failed an overtake against Massa it led to the safety car which then led to Jenson’s downfall.

    3. Jake (@kraemerson88)
      2nd June 2011, 1:12

      If it was Hamilton in third instead of Button, Hamilton and Alonso would have been a smoking pile of ruin. Vettel driving off into the distance.

      1. you confuse Hamilton with Vettel.

        1. you’re right, Vettel likes to take out drivers in the higher positions only. :D

          1. Jake (@kraemerson88)
            2nd June 2011, 3:02

            How long has it been since Vettel has taken out anybody? He has learned from his mistakes, obviously.

          2. dyslexicbunny
            2nd June 2011, 3:46

            How long has it been since he’s had to overtake someone for position? He’s driving in front of everyone, obviously.

          3. Jake (@kraemerson88)
            2nd June 2011, 4:53

            You say that like it is a bad thing… derp. Honestly that mistake was last season, Vettel has improved many times over since Spa 2010. I think it is funny when people critisize Seb for leading from pole to checkered flag. Like any other driver on the grid wouldnt do the same thing, bonkers. Thanks for mocking me, how childish.

          4. dyslexicbunny
            2nd June 2011, 5:56

            I never claimed it was a bad thing nor that other drivers wouldn’t do it either. Though I think it makes for a dull championship. And while I agree that he’s improved, I found your argument silly. Mostly due to using obviously.

            Yes, he’s shown a lot on track and gotten everything out of the car on Saturdays. Yet, not taking anyone out is an unsuitable measure for his improvement when he’s consistently not racing others for position as he lacks the opportunity to take them out.

            To contend that Vettel won’t take people out because he’s learned from mistakes, you’d need sufficient evidence to support it. Until either the Red Bull or Vettel struggles a couple weekends, it’s hard to make the case for now.

          5. Jake (@kraemerson88)
            2nd June 2011, 6:02

            Fair enough.

          6. @dyslexicbunny – check out Barcelona if you have any doubts about Vettel being able to overtake anyone.

          7. dyslexicbunny
            2nd June 2011, 14:23

            @phildick – Do you mean when he passed Button and Massa with his new tires? If I recall correctly, most of the rest was pit strategy. If that’s not what you’ve got in mind, could you elaborate?

            Even then, it’s one case and not a fantastic sample size. Still worth noting but it’s a bit early to conclude anything. Is Lotus a faster car than Force India? No – bad quali from FI. Does Monaco mean Lewis can’t overtake? Well actually, I suppose if you add it to Singapore and Italy and you might suppose he can’t pass when frustrated.

            I’m not looking for an entire tough season for him to have him prove himself but a couple races where he starts somewhere not the front row – maybe spots 5-8. Based on how development looks like it’s going, I might get my wish soon but they still gotta get past him on Saturday. If it happens and he gets the job done, hats off to him. I’ll even say so myself.

        2. You saw the race, you saw Lewis botch several overtakes. Did you see Vettel make a mistake?

          1. Actually if you analyse the footage you will see that Hamilton did nothing differently in his failed overtake of Maldonado than he did for his brilliant overtake of schumacher. The differing factor was the driver he was overtaking. Maldonado clearly turned in very early and braked very late for the corner. Also Hamiltons failed overtake of Massa was almost a carbon copy of Schumachers overtake of Hamilton himself and Rosberg. Again it was the actions of the driver being overtaken that turned the overtake into a crash as massa clearly aggressively defended his position and in doing so hit webber.

    4. You have to remember, sometimes it’s better to bide your time than to make a foolhardy dive. As we saw, Monaco is not a place prone for safe passes and it was not the very end quite yet. I think he was smart to wait for the two of them to tangle as sometimes that can provide an opportunity to get them both. Not to mention, if he had begun to try to pass Alonso, he’d slow both of them down and Vettel could put some distance on them.

      1. The problem i have with JB is if Vettel did fall off the cliff and went 10 seconds a lap slower all he would have done is driven home behind him – his race pace wasn’t the reason JB wasn’t going to overtake him “The only way I was really going to be able to force my way past was if one of them made a mistake or ran off line somewhere”

    5. I don’t have a problem with Jenson it’s just how he goes racing. The problem is his tactic completely failed because of the red flag. In a way, he was caught out in a style simialr to how Lewis was in qualifying. They both underestimated that crashes happen in Monaco which got rid of both of their best opportunities that weekend. There was a safety car until the very end of last year’s race so by waiting Jensen was still taking a risk.

      He could have pushed harder like Lewis or how Fernando was but that has its negatives too as he could have easily ended up in the barrier (although right now Vettel’s lead is such that Fernando especially had almost nothing to lose). Both ways have their drawbacks and I can see why Button thought it was best to wait but it’s a strategy that failed this time.

      1. The problem was, because Button was on far newer tyres, he would have won the race, but because of the red flag, they were allowed to change. Button could not put a strategy (or any other driver, in fairness) on a red flag coming out and all the drivers getting a free pitstop.

        I have no doubt that Button would have won the race should it have not been red flagged, Vettel’s tyres going off would have made for an interesting few laps as Alonso and Button got past, but they’d have done it.

        Such a shame to hear about Virgin abandoning their CFD exclusive plan… It looked to be a really good idea for the future…

    6. Electrolite
      2nd June 2011, 10:11

      If you were in that cockpit, at the end of that race, surely it would have been foolish to go diving up the inside.

      Just before the crash don’t forget that Alonso was beginning to slip and slide about. Even so, it’s no rookie driver he would have been trying to overtake, it would have been Alonso. At Monaco!

    7. To be honest, having Alonso all over Vettel I would have done the same, wait till they crash, or till Alonso gets by Vettel on absolutely undriveable tyres, and get past as well.

      Remember Monaco passing is a high chance of ending your race as well. Not good enough to give up a 3rd or possilby better just to have a lunge and crash out.

    8. That quote really sums up Jenson. No surprises there!

    9. Yes it’s a little bit lame. At least he should say, if Alonso so much as locked up I would have done him. If you don’t have that confidence, especially at Monaco, you had better not even concern yourself with passing at all.

      As far as Hamilton, for comparison, he would have had a go sooner or later. Ending in tears? Who knows. Let’s not revise the record too much here. He passed Schumacher he passed others in Monaco quite well, and the contact-events were clearly disputable. So the worst you could say is, he had even odds of getting it done or stuffing it up.

      To put it more simply, If those two guys were in Monaco on another weekend, Hamilton would be in the back playing at the high stakes poker table and Button would be by the doors with is coin bucket feedling the slots.

      1. I think that Button is a very smart driver. If Hamilton was there, he would agressively attack Alonso, who would diminish the pressure on Vettel, allowing him to nurse his tires. If Button passed Alonso, he would not overtake Vettel on (in? at? i don’t know which one is correct) the remaining laps. Result: crash with Alonso or second position.

        On the other hand, he waits Alonso overtake Vettel or to take them both out, and then pass Vettel, now on ruined tires. Result: second, with the current WDC leader in third; or first, with Vettel out.

  3. What I don’t get about Pat Symonds at Virgin is how he’s allowed to be designing their 2012 car even as a “consultant” (whatever that means) when his ban from F1 is supposed to be through the end of 2012. Is this because of the French court overturning the FIA’s ban?

    1. Yeah, it overturned the ban. Only thing holding him back now is his promise to FIA not to get directly involved in F1.

  4. Gutted about the distribution of Senna.

    I don’t know how well you guys know the geography of Scotland, but the closest place for me to see the film is either Aberdeen or Edinburgh. I happen to be 100 miles from both!!

    As far as I know the cinemas in Dundee aren’t showing it even though they are big chain multiplexes.

    Disapointed, it’s the first film I wanted to go and see in years… :(

    1. Man, that seriously sucks..I take it the cinemas near you are Odeons? – because BOTH near me (In Irvine) are not showing it :(

      May as well buy it on Blu-Ray when it comes out.. Crisp packet munching noise, and annoying popcorn smell free :D

      1. Odeon and a Cineworld, that was going to be my next option, when I visit family down in Ayrshire try and see it at Kilmarnock Odeon, but it’s not on there either. :/

        Yeah Bluray it shall be. ;)

      2. same here, Senna is only showing in london Odeons for some reason…

    2. That’s nothing. Argentina is one of the greatest countries in terms of motorsport history AND we’re next to Brazil.

      But we’re not getting the movie here.

    3. I know it doesn’t help you Calum, but I thought that I’d have to make a trip into London to see Senna. In the end I found that my local cinema is showing Senna, but just not till the 21st June.
      I’ll just have to wait.

    4. I heard on Radio 2 this morning that this week coming is a limited release in only 60 or so cinemas “nationwide” (okay, so that’ll be London and where else???) and the following week it will go on wider release in 250 cinemas nationwide.

      Hopefully it will be successful enough that the major cinema chains put it on in most major cities.

      (Fingers crossed for it to be on at at least 1 of the cinemas in Bath, Bristol or even Swindon…)

  5. MVEilenstein
    2nd June 2011, 0:40

    I believe Wirth is working on something with Indycar. Can’t seem to find a link, though.

    1. Supposedly he is going to be designing the Aerokit for Honda.

      1. MVEilenstein
        2nd June 2011, 4:54

        Right, thanks. I knew I wasn’t dreaming.

        1. is that becuase honda want to get slower?

          1. MVEilenstein
            2nd June 2011, 14:34

            Honda Indycars can’t get much slower.

  6. The kitekat story isn’t new to me. I’ve read and re-read Murray Walker’s autobiography enough times to remember his career in advertising.

    I should pick up his autobiography again when I have the chance.

  7. About time Virgin got shot of the whole CFD concept. It led to them getting pipped by HRT last season and they’ve hardly electrified the track this season either. Lotus are making mankind giant leaps whilst Virgin carries on making small steps.

    1. No it didn’t, the performance of the customer HRT was worse than the in house facotry built Virgin.

      It was just a combination of poor Virgin planning, ie small tank, reliablility from both teams and a dose of luck on HRT’s part.

      In my opinion.

    2. It led to them getting pipped by HRT last season

      Actually, it didn’t lead to them getting pipped at all. Hispania beat Virgin because Karun Chandhok somehow managed to finish 13th in Australia (apparently even the team had no idea how he managed it) while Virgin was plagued by reliability issues.

      1. It was pretty close between HRT and Virgin last year.

        Chandok was actually 14th in Australia and did it again in Monaco despite wrecking with Trulli (he completed at least 90% distance).

        Senna and di Grassi finished 14th once at Malaysia and Korea, respectively (they also both had one 15th place finish, so the tiebreaker were Senna’s two 16th place finishes at Malaysia and China vs di Grassi’s 17th place.

        Glock also finished 14th once at Japan, but his second best finish was 16th in Hungary, so he lost out to his teammate and two HRT drivers.

        1. Virgin were well ahead on performance but lost out because of unreliability:

          Poor reliability leaves Virgin last in championship

          1. My point exactly. A “fast” car is pointless if it doesn’t reach the finish line. HRT beat them fair and square in my eyes – case of turtle versus hare.

          2. or rock versus turtle.

      2. True, but even so, Virgin has no business letting HRT be this close to them – on a fraction of their budget!

        1. For 2010 Virgin had a 39 millon euro budget. HRT was estimated at 35 million.

          I doubt there will be much between them this season.

          Obviously, the CFD cost saving worked. If they mechanical part of the car had just been a bit better they would have been battling Lotus (which was running on a 56 million budget)

    3. Gotta agree. I’, Happy that Nick Wirth is gone, and so is his 100% CFD approach. Im hoping some ex-Williams staff joins Virgin, and gives them some proper guidance and direction.

      1. I think it’s a shame. Some regulars here pointed out earlier that CFD, just like the windtunnel, needs to be fed with good ideas. Maybe Virgin were lacking those. So, I’m still not convinced that the idea is flawed, but for now it becomes an endless speculation of what could have been.

    4. I’m disappointed, but then I’m not spending the money to compete.

      He made it work with Honda \ Acura for the ALMS, but F1 is just too far advanced for his CFD program.
      I think F1 always has those unique bits of genius that spring out of the top designers that look for the loopholes to get that edge. Putting your whole heart into a CFD solution may have just put too much faith in the computer or put too many blinkers on the engineers. In the end, seeing a 3D model is always easier than seeing a 3D model on a 2D screen. This along can only help an aerodynamics engineer.

      1. Actually I rather think F1 is to impatient for his CFD only approach.

        How long did it take to get the Acura as a race/class winner? I remember it was a few seasons, wasn’t it?

        And F1 seems to be even more competative so that makes it harder. They are now starting to get into a move after learning the basics of building the chassis last year. I think they are doing fine, just the rest seem to be doing better.
        Even HRT have improved, but that shows where the weak point might be. Getting themselves their own Gascoyne/Willis/Newey with good ideas of how to make it fast.

        1. actually, the ARX-01a won on debut at Sebring in 2007 :D

  8. The CFD idea isn’t the issue at all, it’s a case of a financial issue. Quite simply Virgins budget is very near if not less than HRTs, let alone Lotus. I think this decision has been pushed through by their new substantial shareholders to try and get better results next season, by just trying a different approach.

    Very harsh on Nick, I’m not sure exactly what they thought he was going to do with quite apparent budget constraints.

    1. The entire idea behind the CFD-only approach was to dramatically cut costs. Virgin didn’t set a huge budget because they didn’t need one.

      1. That is exactly where all CFD was flawed. The all CFD approach needs a very large budget to be successful. Seeing the supercomputers at the MTC and hearing they spend just as much purchasing/running/maintaining and very much powering them as the windtunnel. Straight away I thought Wirth had no chance from the start.

        1. Nonsense. FIA has limited the maximum amount of CFD that can be used and Virgin was using all of it.

    2. Budget is a factor, but surely there’s a question that has to be asked about Nick Wirth’s abilities to design a competitive F1 car.

      By his own admission a little while back, Nick Wirth said that the correlations between the CFD and actual aero perfomance on track were closer than what he’d seen in windtunnels. So, even if he had a windtunnel at his disposal, would the MVR-02 be any more competitive than it is now?

    3. As I understand it for last year Virgin had aa budget somewhere around the $40 million mark, compared to Lotus’ $60m and HRT’s $30m.

      But that’s from memory, So don’t quote me on it.

      1. As I understand it for last year Virgin had aa budget somewhere around the $40 million mark, compared to Lotus’ $60m and HRT’s $30m.

        That sounds similar to what I’d read (at least in terms of Lotus > Virgin > HRT, I can’t remember the exact figures) though I can’t think where now.

        PS: Sorry for quoting you on that…

      2. I guess you rounded that down for HRT. The estimate was 39 vs 35 million (and 56 for Lotus).

  9. Mark Hitchcock
    2nd June 2011, 2:19

    I used to eat cat food when I was a child. Tastes quite nice actually.

    1. Seriously? I wouldn’t even know what’s in it! *cringes*

      1. Part meat, rest is intestines, skin and a bit of soya, depending on quality.
        Its the same stuff that gets put in sausages and cheaper meat to put on your bread but without the 10-20% salty water.

  10. Finally some sense in the Virgin camp.

    1. Looks like the linkup with Marussia is giving them some direction.
      I hope Symonds comes up with refreshing ideas for the car. Then put it into CFD and a bit of tunnel and throw it at the car for better speed.

  11. The budgets are basically what sets the running order in F1, as we all know. Directly proportioanl is it?

    The more you spend the more succesful you will be, but you must spend in the right areas. Toyota?

    Ever since Dieterich Materschits let RBR get access to the megabucks they have been comanding the field, competing with the £200m Brawn in 2009, and the more traditional Mclarens and Ferraris with their 200m budgets.

    Realistically how were 2 teams operating to the $40m budget cap supposed to be able to compete even with the lower midfield?

  12. Joe Szpara
    2nd June 2011, 3:17

    Has anyone heard the rumours that Renault dont want Robert Kubica back at all?

    What does everyone think about it?.

        1. It’s just people reading too much into someone’s comments. Renault know Kubica is their best bet. Vitaly Petrov is doing very well this year – he’s qualified in Q3 in six straight races and is usually running in the points – but Nock Heidfield (thanks to DC, that’s never getting old) is under pressure; Renault have said he needs to perform.

          1. But what if GenII has ran out of money and knows they will be in trouble paying his salary?
            Only reason I can imagine to not want him back in the car as soon as he is fit to race.

            Getting Grosjean in again might be a nice idea for GenII, as they manage him. Not good for his career though.

          2. It’s unlikely they will run out, since they were the ones who got Skype off the ground – and Microsoft just bought it in their single biggest purchase for another company. Not to mention the investment from Lotus Cars and other companies.

        2. They are probably afraid that he won’t be the same driver when he comes back. I think we’re all afraid of that to some extent. He was a heck of a racer, but people rarely (if ever) come back to their best form after severe accidents.

          1. Hey Ben, you should delete the (if ever). Don’t you remember a certain ‘Super Rat’ Niki Lauda?

    1. It’s not a rumour that they want him back. They’ve simply said they don’t think he’ll be able to race at all in 2011, and may not even be able to drive in Free Practice. It seems his recovery is taking longer than expected or hoped.

      1. Like i said at the time – the fact someone SAYS oh he’s strong and will work hard doesn’t trump the healing process. If Kubica can button a dress shirt by seasons end he’ll be well on the way back for NEXT season, but saying he’ll be back racing this season – before he left hospital way just wishful thinking.

      2. They’ve simply said they don’t think he’ll be able to race at all in 2011

        That’s obvious, Renault would do anything to have Robert back, if he won’t be back it will be because of his injuries and not because Renault don’t want him.

    2. Dont bring blatantly fabricated ‘rumors’ to this site…renault built the car around Kubica…and quick Nick ain’t exactly stunning the crowds…The grid is missing Kubica a lot this year I feel, someone who could put an up competitive car right in the mix, and not make a hash of it and crash into everyone in sight when driving the hell out the car.Viva la Poland.

      1. Three letters: GMM. Ignore accordingly.

  13. MVEilenstein
    2nd June 2011, 4:59

    But he insisted the circuit is above politics and does not discriminate based on religion or sect.”

    At what point do these thugs begin to believe their own lies?

    1. I think the answer is: sometime around the same point when they convince themselves that their ends justify any means.

      1. MVEilenstein
        2nd June 2011, 14:34

        I suspect you’re right.

  14. I always have to wonder how real these reports of Bahrain are.

    I mean, if you interview the (some of them armed with automatic rifles) protesters, they would obviously make it sound a lot worse than it really is.

    I’m not a supporter of their government. I just cant help but wonder if we are believing every little bit of information that is fed to us without caring about how credible it is.

    1. Short answer: NO

      A lot of this comes from organisations with a reputation to hold up. Someting the Bahrain Government had as well, before they started the crack down and lost it.
      Even their banks ratings are being reconsidered by the agencies now.

      1. Yes but a lot of these stories are also from unnamed sources, meaning there is no way to tell if that unknown source was a oppressive side or on the terrorists side. Often the terrorists would say a lot of bad things because they feed off of attention in order to place pressure on the state they are fighting.

        You also have to wonder, if the Bahrain government does topple, who will replace them? Another dictatorship or religious organisation?

        1. To be honest a lot is told only under promise of not being named, for fear of repercussions. That is a big difference from being from unknown sources.

          And what terrorists are you putting into the Bahrain story? Those that the BAhrain Government keeps inventing? Had there be any, we would have heard bombs exploding.
          The current protests are interesting, in that they are far from religious fanatics doing the marching.
          These are people who got education and now want more rights to have a say (voting for less than half the parliament, and only consultionary just does not cut it any more.) Getting rid of a PM who is in office for over 40 years now sounds like a good idea to me.

    2. Infy, you may want to have a look at

      the respected middle eastern news service.

      Re Bahrain, the headline today is “Security Forces attack Bahraini protesters”. There are lots of good articles.

  15. I would certainly hope, that F1 does not go back. Very true words in that The Times article.

    Also look at this background article saying that while martial law ended yesterday and the king announced

    “comprehensive, serious dialogue” would begin next month and said that “no one shall be harmed due to his peaceful, civilized expression of opinion.”

    The reality on the streets gives a rather different picture, at least outside the richer neigbourhoods and expat districs:

    Hours after Bahrain officially ended 11 weeks of martial law on Wednesday, security forces attacked peaceful protesters in more than 20 villages with rubber bullets, stun grenades, shotguns and tear gas, according to human rights observers in Bahrain.

    I hope the teams use the date issue as a way to block rescueduling (contract limitations?).
    That way Bahrain can use the 9 months to the first GP of 2012 to do some real reform, and stop crackdowns and release all those imprisoned to be really “back to normal”.

    1. They need to stop protesting.

      1. Why? So Bahrain can just jail the protesters, put up a happy face and nothing changes?

        Or do you agree, that people do not have a right to protest openly if their worries are not getting attention?
        What would you say about strikes for better wages then? Shoot them down and force them back to work. They are bothering us?

        To me that is a human right, even though it might be uncomfortable at times.

      2. Infy – you need to open your eyes a little and realize a few harsh realities about the world outside your sheltered life.

  16. There is nothing wrong wit CFD, the only thing that was wrong with Virgin’s CFD approach was how Wirth chose to use it.
    Going against popular opinion may be brave atimes, but it is foolhardy when you don’t have the success to back up your decision.

  17. Interesting, this is probably the nail in the CFD only coffin, which is a shame because if it had worked out better than this then every team would have ditched the wind tunnel, cutting costs massively.

    1. I reckon the CFD only approach will be back sooner than we think. I would like to see one of the top teams with prior success give it a go, but the chances of that happening soon are pretty slim at best.

  18. Funny how Adrian Sutil said that. Had he benefited from a ‘free pit stop’ then i’m sure he wouldn’t be complaining. Swings and roundabouts.

  19. Regarding Nick Wirth’s departure from Virgin. Only CFD approach? Some engineers puzzle me: Where on Earth they’ve got their University Diploma?

    1. Uh, because CFD is an incredibly powerful tool. Most teams use CFD for the early conceptual phases of a car’s development, before refining the design with wind tunnel testing. It is by no means an alien concept to Formula 1. Given their success with the Acura LMP-2 design in ALMS and the fact that they have the third-most powerful supercomputer on the face of the earth, Wirth Research evidently felt that CFD could be applied to an entire car.

      1. We, I mean people living on the face of this planet, do not posses all mathematical models to freely say: CFD does it all!
        I contemplated mathematical modeling of MVGs. I had, and still have ;) a very good idea how to do it but I’m aware that apart from testing it’s difficult to have a whole picture of MVGs performance.
        Even the tunnel alone – because of the interaction between it’s walls and the flowing air – doesn’t give you finite data.
        Consequently, only CFD? Maybe, but it simply doesn’t do the trick mate…

      2. I think the main problem is the sheer complexity of the whole thing, and the time it takes to get everything working and enough data in.

        Last year was lost mainly with basic manufacturing like the gearbox and hydraulics and feeding the data into the system.
        And as they had to start this years car when they had only data from half a year, its still not too good. But they should be getting more and more from it in the coming months and with next years car.

  20. The Bahrain situation is really getting to me now.

    Watching Bernie’s interview with CNN the other day which was featured on this site, he keeps on referring to how “F1 doesn’t do politics”. He keeps on using this line thinking that because they are turning a blind eye, that they are ok with going back to Bahrain.

    It’s not right, you can’t use that for an excuse. It’s like a school boy excuse. It also peeves me off that he says the teams should not make a decision based on moral judgements. Why the heck not?! F1 teams are allowed to have hearts in this day and age.

    I for one hope we don’t go back to Bahrain ever. Bernie just cares about the money, not the people.


    I’m glad something is changing at Virgin Racing. Something had to, the CFD only approach did not seem to be working as they haven’t made any forward steps this year. I hope they get moving forwards soon.


  21. “budget is a factor”

    no its pretty much everything, of course you can toyota it up but you cant be fast if you have no budget. cfd is definitely the way forward but if your budget is 30 mill then the software is going to be crude.

    Teams like ferrari arent actually any good at what they do they just empirically make things better. That means they change it, if it doesnt work they change it back and try something else. Mclaren are pretty much the same, give or take an f duct. Its no more sophisticated than a toddler pushing blocks into the right hole but if you have a 1000 man workforces and 2/300 mill then you can make your car fast.

    Its a nonsense and rather than go for greener engines they should limit the workforce to 40 and ban the wind tunnel.

    Virgin & HRT look like a joke but they never had a chance, they are playing in the premier league but can only afford sunday league players

  22. Buemi doing a promo event eh? Usually seems to be Jaime who does those. Maybe it’s a sign of things to come…

  23. The UK Foreign Office has lifted its travel advisory restriction on Bahrain:

    1. I’m using a whole shaker of salt with that one. The U.S. State Dept also doesn’t have a Bahrain advisory either. Then again, the U.S. list features such places as Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, and Mexico. Well known secret: Bahrain lets the U.S. park a fleet of warships and figher planes there, in a region where that kind of parking is scarce and very expensive. Let’s not even mention the direct investment pouring out of the soveriegn funds in that region. So it’s no surprise that the UK and the U.S. are completely mum about Bahrain–even as they pound Libya with bombs and wag angry fingers at Syria.

      1. Another factor might be the guys next door (UAE, another Gulf state) actually being to only arab country helping with the bombing in Libya.

  24. Another way of looking at Vettel’s good luck is that the team strategy took into account the higher likelihood of safety car situations at Monaco, and therefore that track position is more important than overall pace.

    We’ve seen countless examples of faster drivers not being able to pass – just think Mansell and Senna!

    So although Jenson was much quicker you could argue that his strategy was flawed and that Vettel’s strategy was better. I’m not saying they predicted what actually happened as that would have been nigh on impossible, but they took into account the characteristics of the track.

  25. I think Vettel has a 6th sense at the moment, and these pinions about luck and that he cant overtake are weak or out of date.

    In the previous race he overtook JB & Alonso in short order when he needed to and he was good enough to keep probably the most intimidating driver, in Lewis, behind him. Webber alluded to that fact that hes adapted to the new tyres much better than he; but its more than that, Vettel can adapt to any conditions he finds himself in. He is maybe more like Prost than JB ever will be. He just does the exact amount required and makes it look like fortune almost.

    An outstanding driver, a nice guy, thank god hes German or there would be nothing to hate(joke)!! … “thats what im talking about” and the finger are a tad tedious.

  26. A couple of points regarding Nick Wirth’s departure from Virgin:

    Isn’t Wirth (or his company Wirth Research) a shareholder in the team? Does this mean that he has been bought out?

    And – who is going to be designing the cars now? I thought that Wirth Research pretty much constituted the team’s design department, while Manor Motorsport assembled the cars and ran the rest of the operation from their base in Sheffield. How are they going to be able to do any of the design work, with CFD and / or windtunnel, if they don’t have those facilities?

    Also, I think that cost is a major factor in Virgin’s underperformance. I read in an article when the car was launched this year that they had stuck with the push rod suspension simply because they could not afford to even consider the re-design of the rear end of the car which the suspension layout would require, whereas this was something Lotus did manage.

    In hindsight, it was probably unrealistic to think a brand new team on a shoestring budget could have made the all-CFD approach work. A team with the vast technical resources, data bank and financial muscle of McLaren or Ferrari may well be able to make it work, and even then they would probably chose to gradually wean themselves off the windtunnel rather than going in cold as Virgin did, with no prior knowledge to fall back on and against which they could test the results they were getting from the CFD.

  27. Massa is a small man with a smaller future. He knows it and desperation is his only card. Its no suprise he turned in he could probably feel the eyes of Montezemolo demanding him to.

    I feel for Maldonado or more properly Williams, Maldonado made an error, the error was not to be aware that Lewis will try and bully other drivers. Better points for 7th than nothing. He will learn. Lewis knows he must continue to drive that way. He cant back down from being that type of driver, if he did the rest of the field will know they broke him.

    Lewis had a race to forget but the sight of him following MS round the track less than a yard behind was spellbinding and something maybe only him and Alonso can do.

    Best Monaco race in my watching lifetime (1980- present)

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