Virgin Racing

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Full name Marussia Virgin Racing
Virgin Racing
Base Dinnington, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Noted staff John Booth
Richard Branson
Nikolai Fomenko
Graeme Lowdon
Pat Symonds
Alex Tai
Etienne de Villiers
Nick Wirth
Noted drivers Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio
Brazil Lucas di Grassi
Germany Timo Glock
Next name Marussia F1 Team
Formula One World Championship career
First entry 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix
Races entered 38
Race victories 0 (best finish: 14th, 2010 Malaysian and Japanese Grands Prix and 2011 Australian and Canadian Grands Prix)
Pole positions 0 (best grid position: 16th, 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix)
Fastest laps 0
Final entry 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix

Virgin Racing subsequently Marussia Virgin Racing was a Formula One racing team which was under management of Manor Motorsport, Wirth Research and Richard Branson's Virgin Group which competed in Formula One in 2010 and 2011. It scored no points and finished last in the Constructor's Championship for the two years the team competed.

The team was one of the four granted an entry for the 2010 season, and was originally known as Manor Grand Prix, before being renamed Virgin Racing when Virgin brought a shareholding and naming rights at the end of 2009. The team's original car, the Virgin VR-01, was the first in Formula One to be developed using only computational fluid dynamics, and was driven by Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi. At the end of the season, Marussia Motors bought a stake in the team and became the main sponsor, with the team known as Marussia Virgin Racing and racing under a Russian licence for 2011. The partnership with Wirth ended midway though 2011, and a new technical structure bringing car development in-house was set up for 2012.

Marussia Virgin Racing was renamed to Marussia F1 Team at the end of 2011. The company retained the base in Dinnington, as well as setting up the technical base in Banbury for the construction of the racing cars.



The team was formed as Manor Grand Prix as a tie-up between Manor Motorsport and Wirth Research.[1] Initially, Virgin's Alex Tai was the Team Principal, while Graeme Lowdon was the team's Director of Racing. Manor Motorsport boss John Booth was the Sporting Director, while former Simtek team owner Nick Wirth was the technical director.[2] Less than one month after the Virgin partnership was officially launched, Tai left his position and Booth took over as team principal, with Lowdon becoming the CEO.[3]

The team used engines supplied by Cosworth. Manor Motorsport, best known as a Formula Three team and for launching the careers of World Champions Kimi Räikkönen and Lewis Hamilton, were running only one car in the British Formula 3 Championship, in co-operation with CF Racing. Car preparation and racing operations were run from its headquarters in Dinnington, South Yorkshire, while Wirth Research designed, developed and built the VR-01 from its base in Bicester, before announcing a relocation to new, larger premises in Banbury, Oxfordshire in July 2010.[4]

In June 2011, the team announced that they had split with Wirth Research after a lengthy internal review led by former Renault engineering director Pat Symonds found that the team's Computational fluid dynamics-only approach had not yielded the expected results.[5]

The team also had plans to create a driver academy, a series of racing teams starting in the new GP3 Series and advancing all the way up to Formula One.[6]

2010 season

Timo Glock testing the Virgin VR-01 during pre-season testing in Jerez, in February 2010.

Virgin's car for 2010, the VR-01, was the first F1 car designed entirely using CFD computer simulation technology.[7] It was later discovered that the Virgin VR-01's fuel tank was too small, resulting in the team not being able to finish any races unless the cars are driven at a reduced pace to conserve fuel. The team was given the opportunity to redesign the chassis.[8] On 17 November 2009 it was announced by the team that former Toyota driver Timo Glock would be the team's lead driver for the 2010 season. Glock was signed for two years and had a one year extension offer as well.[9] Long-time Brazilian GP2 regular Lucas di Grassi joined him, while fellow former GP2 driver Luiz Razia fulfilled testing and reserve duties. Álvaro Parente was also signed as a test driver, but left the team prior to the launch of the VR-01.[10] Andy Soucek was signed as his replacement, but left the team in August due to a lack of testing opportunities.[11] The 2010 car was officially launched on their website on 3 February 2010,[12][13] before running the car at a private event at Silverstone the following two days.[14]

File:Virgin Racing Original Logo.png
The original team logo used during 2010.

The team recorded its first double finish at the Spanish Grand Prix and had another double finish, best of the new teams at the Turkish Grand Prix. Despite recording four further double finishes, the team finished at the bottom of the Constructors' Championship standings on a tie-breaker, as their best result – 14th place finishes for di Grassi in Malaysia and Glock in Japan – placed them lower than Lotus Racing and Hispania Racing in the standings.

2011 season


Virgin purchased twenty percent of the team, as part of sponsorship arrangement.[15] The official FIA entry list for 2010 announced on 30 November 2009 showed that Manor GP had been entered as Virgin Racing.[16] The team's partners for 2010 include tyre supplier Bridgestone, IT services company UST Global,[17][18] environmental technology company Carbon Green, shampoo brand Clear, information technology firm CSC, foreign exchange traders FxPro, clothing company Kappa, the Oxigen investment group and Russian sports car manufacturer Marussia. On 13 January 2010, reports emerged revealing that Virgin had paid an extra one and a half million pounds to Cosworth to have the CA2010 unit rebranded as a Marussia, though both Virgin Racing and Cosworth have denied the story.[19]

On 14 December 2009, Lloyds Banking Group announced that it had invested ten million pounds in the team,[20] reversing the recent trend of financial institutions such as ING and RBS withdrawing sponsorship. However, it remains unclear as to whether or not the Lloyds logo will appear on the cars.

On 7 May 2010, Virgin Racing announced that it had reached a sponsorship deal with Full Tilt Poker.[21]


Since the team was formed, it had been in a partnership with Russian car manufacturer Marussia and QNet since 2010.[22][23] On 11 November 2010, Marussia acquired a controlling stake in the team and guaranteed the team's future until 2014.[24][25] Marussia engineering director Nikolai Fomenko has stated that the team would race with a Russian licence in 2011,[26] becoming the second Russian team in the sport after Midland.[27] Director Nick Wirth announced that it was a major financial boost for the team and that it will allow it to promote Formula One in Russia.[25] The team also announced that their computational fluid dynamics (CFD) facility would be upgraded, to become the third largest such facility in the world.[28]

Having previously driven for the team during Friday practice sessions at selected events in 2010, Jérôme d'Ambrosio replaced Lucas di Grassi in the team's second seat alongside Timo Glock for the 2011 season.[29] Following a disappointing start to the season, the team ended its partnership with Wirth Research. The team retained Pat Symonds as a technical consultant, though he could not be employed directly until his ban expired over his role in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix race fixing at the end of the 2013 season. The team has abandoned using CFD as its sole R&D tool and signed an agreement with McLaren to use their technical facilities, simulators and wind tunnel.[30][31]

Complete Formula One results

(key) (results in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Chassis Engine Tyres No. Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Points WCC
24 Germany Timo Glock Ret Ret Ret DNS 18 Ret 18 Ret 19 18 18 16 18 17 Ret 14 Ret 20 Ret
25 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Ret Ret 14 Ret 19 Ret 19 19 17 Ret Ret 18 17 20 15 DNS Ret NC 18
24 Germany Timo Glock NC 16 21 DNS 19 Ret 15 21 16 17 17 18 15 Ret 20 18 Ret 19 Ret
25 Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio 14 Ret 20 20 20 15 14 22 17 18 19 17 Ret 18 21 20 16 Ret 19


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External links