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F1 NEWS 

Wirth: Virgin success rests on car design

Nick WirthVirgin Racing technical director Nick Wirth believes the team has all the tools in place for a successful Formula 1 debut in 2010, and admits that its fate rests in the hands of his company's design of the car.

Virgin, which has taken over the Manor Grand Prix team, has confirmed Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi as its race drivers and will use Cosworth engines next season.

Wirth says that with the backing of Richard Branson's brand, the expertise of the Manor team and Glock leading the line-up, its competitiveness will come down to the job his Wirth Research company does in designing the 2010 car.

"The engine's great, the drivers are great, wherever we are on the grid is down to me," he said. "Any issues will be down to us lot because I think those guys will deliver. We've just got to do our best.

"Of course my ego wants this to be a success, but I'm doing it in a way where I'm not going to all the grands prix, and the way that my own companies are structured means I don't have to worry about business matters and try and worry about what I really enjoy, which is innovation and leading the technical direction."

Wirth is returning to Formula 1, where he previously ran the Simtek team and worked for Benetton, after leading the design of the Acura campaign in the American Le Mans Series.

He admits that there will be pressure on the team to perform well, but expects it be grow in competitiveness as F1 scales down its budgets over the next three years.

"In many ways Formula 1 is like 'oh my God, here we go again' because the pressure and the spotlight is very intense, and you have to explain everything," said Wirth. "I'm happy for the team, I'm happy to create such an exciting job, and I'm just so excited about the future.

"We signed on the dotted line to a championship that said [a cap of] 45 million. That limits our ability to perform really well in the first couple of years, because we're racing against such a budget discontinuity

"But they're coming down, they have to come down. It's what they've all signed up to."

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