Virgin aims to earn respect from rivals

Virgin Racing sporting director John Booth says the team's first target is to earn the respect of its rivals at the start of next season

Virgin aims to earn respect from rivals

With the team's VR-01 design on schedule for a first run in February, Booth says he has no doubts about the competitiveness of the outfit's maiden contender that is being designed by Nick Wirth.

And with the plans for the team having been officially unveiled in London on Tuesday, Booth is keeping ambitions firmly in check.

"I think Nick is a design genius and I have absolute faith in his ability to design a fantastic car," he said.

"In turn he has the belief in our ability to run it. There is already a great chemistry within the team and this is inspiring a lot of confidence. We've kept our heads down for the last few months and just got on with what we needed to do, but now people are starting to see what we are achieving.

"In 2010 my idea of success is to run reliably, safely and efficiently and earn the respect of our peers in the paddock. We need to perform well as a team. Then we can start carrying that through into car performance. Our clear objective is to end the season as the best of the new teams."

Wirth, whose car will hit the tracks without having been run in a wind-tunnel, says his enthusiasm for F1 has returned after he departed the sport a decade ago.

"This is an incredible day for everyone involved with Virgin Racing," he said. "The past year has been something of a rollercoaster ride as we first conceived the idea of entering Formula 1 and then navigated the route to our launch today in 12 very busy but rewarding months.

"I am immensely proud to be part of a team that isn't simply 'making it to the grid', but which has surpassed even our wildest expectations - technically, in our racing operation and also commercially.

"When I left the sport in '99 I admit that I was disappointed and disillusioned. I felt that Formula 1 had become like Boeing versus Airbus. Teams were spending a million pounds a year on wheel nuts, with hundreds of engineers battling against each other for supremacy.

"I had absolute belief in the digital design approach but I knew I would have to wait for the F1 world to change. So we decided to prove the process in the USA, first in Indy Car and then in Sports Cars, in which we achieved phenomenal success. As soon as I heard about the proposals for a budget-capped Formula 1, the opportunity to prove the all-CFD approach at the highest level was too exciting for words. F1 under resource restriction? Welcome to my world."

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