F1: No rush say Virgin - after parting with technical mastermind

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MARUSSIA Virgin Racing have no immediate plans to create a new technical base, according to president Graeme Lowdon.

Rumour is rife the Formula One strugglers have drawn up plans to set up a facility at Leafield, the former home of Arrows and Super Aguri.

Virgin’s race team is based at Dinnington while the design and technical base is in Banbury at Wirth Research.

But, having parted company with technical director Nick Wirth and his company, Wirth Research three days ago, it seems a certainty Virgin will have to find a new location.

Regarding the Leafield link, Lowdon told The Star: “We are always evaluating our options but we have had no discussions with them.

“It is way too early to make any decisions on that. We are reviewing everything and looking at what the best solution is going forwards.”

He added: “The business is growing and we are getting bigger all the time but we have not decided anything yet. In the long term, it depends on what is right for the team.”

Russian sportscar manufacturer Marussia Motors, who bought a significant stake in Virgin last year, are determined to turn around their fortunes in motor sport’s premier competition.

By the time the inaugural Russian Grand Prix comes around in 2014, Marussia expect the team to be in contention for a podium finish.

Former Renault director of engineering Pat Symonds is conducting a full review of Virgin’s operation in his capacity as a consultant.

n Virgin have confirmed Robert Wickens has joined their reserve driver roster, starting with his home grand prix in Montreal next week. The prodigously talented 22-year-old is currently in second place in the junior Formula Renault 3.5 Series.

n The Bahrain Grand Prix has returned to this year’s F1 calendar after a meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Bahrain yesterday. It was initially due to be the opening race of the season in March, but was called off amid political unrest in the country. It will now be held on October 30 while the Indian Grand Prix will be staged in December.