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McLaren partnership and new base for Virgin 04 Jul 2011

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/25 passes Lucas di Grassi (BRA) Virgin Racing VR-01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, Canadian Grand Prix, Race, Montreal, Canada, Sunday, 13 June 2010 Marussia Virgin Racing MVR-02 nose detail.
Marussia Virgin Racing MVR-02 Launch, BBC Television Centre, London, England, 7 February 2011 Jerome d'Ambrosio (BEL) Virgin Racing MVR-02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia, Spain, Saturday, 25 June 2011 Jerome d'Ambrosio (BEL) Virgin Racing MVR-02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 27 March 2011 Timo Glock (GER) Virgin Racing MVR-02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday, 7 May 2011

Virgin have signalled the seriousness of their intent to become real Formula One contenders by announcing a new, long-term technical partnership with McLaren Applied Technologies.

It will see the Anglo-Russian team benefit from access to McLaren facilities, knowledge and capabilities, such as their test rigs and driver-in-the-loop simulator, supply chain experience and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) techniques, including race strategy tools. McLaren management and production staff will also be embedded within the Virgin team.

“Our technical partnership with McLaren is very exciting indeed,” said Virgin team CEO Andy Webb. “McLaren is one of the most prestigious and successful marques in Grand Prix racing history, with an enviable record of success over many years. We can benefit enormously from McLaren’s far-reaching techniques and capabilities and I have no doubt that this partnership will see us take the technical steps necessary to make a significant leap forwards.”

Earlier this year Virgin parted ways with previous technical partners Wirth Racing Technologies (WRT) and technical director Nick Wirth. However, the team have now acquired WRT’s Formula One business, including its leading-edge technical centre in Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK.

The Banbury premises will continue to be utilised by Virgin for the next two years, during which time the team will progress their plans to develop a tailor-made new facility more suited to the team’s long-term Formula One tenure and allowing all elements of their operation to come together on one site.

“When we undertook our detailed review of the team in the first half of 2011, it was clear that our bold ambitions for the future would need to be matched with some equally bold steps towards achieving them,” continued Webb. “I am delighted that in a relatively short space of time we are now in the fantastic position of being able to make these two very important announcements, which will enable us to make some dramatic strides forward with immediate effect.

“Our acquisition of the WRT Formula One business ensures continuity of technical infrastructure for the period ahead, which means that the transition to working with our new technical partner can begin immediately and is not frustrated by logistical considerations. Our three-centre operation has served us well in our formative years, but our ambitions for the future will rely on the full might of the team coming together under one roof.”

Former Renault technical chief Pat Symonds has played a major part in determining Virgin’s future technical direction and he will continue in the consultancy position that he has occupied with the team since February. Virgin’s existing agreement with engine suppliers Cosworth also continues.

“With Pat Symonds’ continued involvement in the technical programme, we are confident that we have made all the right moves towards a successful future for Marussia Virgin Racing and we now head into one of the most important events for our team, the British Grand Prix, with renewed confidence and a great deal of excitement about the future,” added Webb.

Commenting on their new partnership with Virgin, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: "During the period in which we were agreeing this deal, our experience of dealing with Andy and his team was extremely positive and we recognise that he and his colleagues are very serious about making developments that will lift the competitiveness of their cars over the coming months and years. We wish them well.”

Virgin made their F1 debut at the start of 2010. They lie 12th in the 2011 constructors' standings and have yet to score their first championship point.

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