Different direction

Fired: Technical director Nick Wirth, right, has paid the price for Virgin's abject start to the season
Fired: Technical director Nick Wirth, right, has paid the price for Virgin's abject start to the season
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HAVING ditched self-confessed mechanical geek Nick Wirth, Marussia Virgin Racing enter a critical phase in their history.

It was Wirth’s role over the winter to make the Dinnington-based team more competitive and push them closer to the midfield pack.

But, following a lacklustre start to the 2011 Formula One season, Virgin opted to dispense with Wirth’s services on Wednesday.

It was Wirth who pioneered the use of computer technology called Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). Despite Virgin’s poor performances on track, Wirth stayed true to his radical CFD testing methods over conventional wind tunnels.

However, in a results driven industry, Virgin have yet to score a point, finished bottom of the constructors championship last season and remain four seconds off the pace.

Now team principal John Booth and his cohorts are weighing up their options on how to take Virgin forward.

Of Wirth’s departure, chief executive officer Andy Webb said: “The decision has been taken that the team will take greater control of its own destiny. Accordingly, having consulted with our existing technical partner during the course of the past few weeks, we have been obliged to terminate our relationship with them (Wirth’s company Wirth research).

“I believe the steps we are taking in terms of our technical leadership and operational excellence will provide us with the robust foundation required to go on and achieve our performance objectives in the years ahead. These are bold but positive steps that will enable us to move forward with confidence.”

Webb added: “Marussia’s goal remains to be in a position to be able to challenge for a podium finish at the inaugural Russian Grand Prix in Sochi 2014.”