Symonds undertaking review of Virgin

Virgin Racing has asked former Renault technical director Pat Symonds to undertake a full review of its operation in a bid to help turn around its disappointing start to the 2011 campaign, AUTOSPORT has learned

Symonds undertaking review of Virgin

With the team's MVR-02 having not delivered the step forward in pace that had been hoped for, the outfit is now looking for answers as to why progress has fallen short of expectations.

And although there are high hopes that a major aerodynamic upgrade planned for the Turkish Grand Prix will help lift its form, Virgin has called on Symonds to look deeper into the reasons why the start of the campaign has been a struggle.

Symonds, who cannot return to a full-time Formula 1 role until 2013, has been acting as a consultant for the team for several weeks now. However, the scope of his role has been ramped up on the back of the performance of the team in the first races of the season.

In an exclusive interview with AUTOSPORT, Virgin team principal John Booth said: "I think it is fair to say that Pat, who has only been working for us for two months, is undertaking an overview of the team.

"He works with the engineers daily, but his main job at the moment is to take an overview of where we are. I am sure within a month or two he will give us some conclusions and pointers."

Booth added that as well as pointing the team in areas that it needed to improve, Symonds was helpful in letting it know where it was doing things right too.

"There are two areas - one that he does give us great optimism for the future. He has been there before, done it several times and knows it inside out. The other thing is that when you have a conversation or a meeting, then Pat works with the engineers and he gives a rubber stamp to the way the engineers have been setting the meetings up, the way they have been working, the way they deal with the drivers.

"It gives you a great deal of confidence that you know they have been doing it right for the last eight months or so - as that is always a question in your mind. When someone like Pat gives you a rubber stamp, it gives you a real boost of confidence."

Virgin Racing openly admits that its new MVR-02 has not produced the downforce levels that had been hoped for - with pressure now on technical director Nick Wirth to improve the situation.

Booth said: "We have stagnated, we haven't moved on - and that is the most disappointing thing.

"But hopefully we have recognised some of the problems, and the upgrade in Turkey will put a lot of that right. But that will only put us where we should have started in Australia."

He added: "We are lacking downforce. There is no question about that. It is a matter of just rolling our sleeves up and getting it sorted."

The Turkey upgrade will include new exhausts, a new floor, a new front wing, improved brakes and a tweaked diffusers.

Virgin Racing chiefs are also ready to consider putting their car through some windtunnel tests - even though the outfit had famously championed itself as only using CFD.

Last year, the team evaluated its inaugural challenger in a German windtunnel at Stuttgart University, and sources suggest the current car could be evaluated at the Mercedes GP facility in Brackley - in order to give it comparison figures to ensure its CFD direction is working.

When asked about the possibility of some windtunnel testing, Virgin Racing president Graeme Lowdon said: "From my point of view, I don't care if it is windtunnel, dowsing with coat-hangers or whatever the technology is - as long as it fits a commercial profile and works."

Booth added: "I don't think windtunnel testing is quite the inefficient, cash-guzzling beast it was four years ago. I think with the wind-on restrictions, the people within F1 operating windtunnels have become much cuter and I think they are 20 times more efficient than they were four or five years ago."

shares
comments
DRS could be banned in Monaco
Previous article

DRS could be banned in Monaco

Next article

Newey: Wing complaints now 'boring'

Newey: Wing complaints now 'boring'
Load comments
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021