There have been a few internet reports today which have included some words attributed to Virgin Racing’s tech chief Nick Wirth laying into Williams boss Patrick Head at yesterday’s Virgin team launch. Well you’ll be pleased to hear that he didn’t just have a go at poor old Patrick… oh no. He also took time to have a pop at recently crowned 2009 F1 constructors’ champions BrawnGP.
On a day in which Sir Richard Branson had referred to BrawnGP’s 2009 season, in which his Virgin brand logos appeared on the BGP001 cars, as “David versus Goliath,” Wirth could not help but chuckle when I asked if Branson was expecting the same sort of giant killing form from Wirth’s car in 2010.
“I’m laughing because that’s one of the things I find most annoying about last season because it was Goliath versus Goliath. That was the car that had more money and more resources spent on it than any other 2009 car, possibly [more than any F1 car] in history, so it’s an absolute PR coup for them and it’s laughable. They might want to perceive it that way, and believe me they did a magnificent job in surviving and all the stress they went through, and all credit to those guys and Ross and the whole crew, but it was not a David against Goliath story.”
Wirth’s comments reflect opinions voiced during the 2009 season itself by former Honda and early BrawnGP reserve driver Alex Wurz.
“The car was taken in three different directions in the wind tunnel,” he said earlier this year. “Two directions were found to be wrong, so the team could just switch. The Brawn is probably the most expensive car with the lowest operating budget ever.”
The BGP001, which would have been the Honda RA109, benefitted greatly from 18 months of design work undertaken at Leafiled by the Super Aguri F1 Team which had begun in 2007, a year of design work at Honda in Brackley and Tochigi during 2008, and, it is understood, additional work at the Dome base in Maibara, Japan. The double decker diffuser concept, which would prove so pivotal to the success of the BGP001, is believed to have come from either Super Aguri or Dome. At times it has been claimed that anywhere between four and six wind tunnels were in operation, through the various different arms of the development chain, at one time.
Such benefits will not be afforded to Wirth’s Virgin racing car in 2010, which will be the only car on the grid next season designed solely by Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), and without the use of a single wind tunnel.