Virgin Racing to use rival Mclaren’s facilities

Virgin Racing has announced a deal with rival McLaren allowing it to use facilities belonging to the more successful Formula One team.

Virgin said on Monday that it entered into what it called “a long-term technical partnership” with McLaren Applied Technologies that includes the use of tools including test rigs, driver simulators and a wind tunnel.

Cosworth will still supply Virgin’s engines.

Virgin, which conducted an internal review over the first half of this year after failing to pick up a single point in the 2010 championship, also bought former technical partner WRT.

Virgin will use the MRT facilities in Banbury, England, for two years while it builds a new unit.

“It was clear that our bold ambitions for the future would need to be matched with some equally bold steps towards achieving them,” Virgin chief executive Andy Webb said. “These two very important announcements … will enable us to make some dramatic strides forward with immediate effect.”

McLaren management and production staff will be embedded within the Virgin team in roles permitted by F1’s Concorde Agreement, which dictates the terms of teams’ entry to the world championship. Former Renault technical director Pat Symonds will continue to advise Virgin.

While Virgin has failed to pick up a single point from 27 Grands Prix — with its best showing a pair of 14th-place finishes in each of its two seasons so far — but McLaren is one of the most prestigious names in F1.

It has eight constructors’ titles and 12 drivers’ championships, the most recent in 2008 with Lewis Hamilton.

“McLaren is one of the most prestigious and successful marques in Grand Prix racing history, with an enviable record of success over many years”, Webb said. “We can benefit enormously from McLaren’s far-reaching techniques and capabilities and I have no doubt that this partnership will see us take the technical steps necessary to make a significant leap forwards.”

Virgin did not say how long the agreement would be in force for. — Sapa-AP

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