Virgin to launch 2011 F1 car today

F1 Fanatic round-up

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I’m heading to the BBC Television Centre today for the launch of Virgin’s new F1 car.

Ten winners of the F1 Fanatic competition will also be there so please do say hello if you spot me there.

The car is due to be revealed at 11am GMT and I’ll have pictures of the car and news from the launch as soon as possible.

Here’s today’s round-up:


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Chandhok to test with Team Lotus

Karun Chandhok was spotted wearing Team Lotus gear in Valencia.

2010 F1 season edit (

Brief highlights package covering last season.

James Moy on Twitter

“Photographing the new Force India VJM04 tonight in the studio. Hope the 2011 livery looks good.”

2011 FIA Formula One World Championship (FIA)

Session start times for this season.

Hugo Ch??vez’s sports revolution (The Guardian)

“This year the state-owned oil company PDVSA will put $14m (??9m) into the Williams Formula One team, which will this season have the Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado as one of its drivers ?ǣ a decision that led to Ch??vez being accused of hypocrisy (capitalism surely has no greater sporting expression) and misusing his patronage (Maldonado is an avowed supporter of the president).”

Comment of the day

It’s far too long to reproduce here but Zeus_m3 has compiled a huge amount of data on Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher’s team mates for the Champion of Champions final. Read it here.

Site updates

Apologies for the ongoing problems with the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app. This should be fixed soon.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Victor!

On this day in F1

Ferrari, Renault and Alfa Romeo refused to participate in the South African Grand Prix held 30 years ago today.

The cause was a bitter political row between the sports’ governing body (FISA), backed by the three constructors, and the other teams aligned with Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Constructors’ Association.

Reigning champion Alan Jones won the race, but FISA decided it would not count towards the world championship.

Image ?? Virgin Racing

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 105 comments on “Virgin to launch 2011 F1 car today”

    1. I’ve been looking forward to Virgin’s launch. I’m very interested in their progress because of their exclusively-CFD approach. I was hoping for a live launch, but I was afraid I would miss it because I’m cooking for a dozen people tonight.

      1. I am curious to find out what they come up with as well. Certainly the CFD will be better aligned now they have all the data.

        1. I’m curious what PM is cooking?

          1. Roast beef for mains. Apple pie for dessert.

            1. OOo sounds good.. now I want photos :) I’m hungry!

      2. Do it like a chef here in the Czech Republic. When asked, what he would cook his friends, he said he’d get a nice red, make some spagetti and salad and enjoy the rest of the time talking to his friends!

        1. That’s exactly what I did the last time I entertained… big bowl of meatballs and tomato sauce, big bowl of spaghetti, serve yourselves. :)

    2. updated 2011 technical sectoin on f1 website:

      1. It’s always nice to see those on the official site, since they clarify everything with nice graphics. It definitely helps to understand some of the regulations that are more difficult to visualise.

        1. yeah however they have the wrong drawing on the driver adjustable rear wing section.

          1. no they dont sorry. they must have corrected it.

    3. Weal, be interesting to see what Virgin have got, whisperer it but I reckon if Renault really wanted to see the potential of their car in the best hands they’d try and steal Glock off em’. Should have put him in the car in the first place IMHO.

      Still mourning the loss of Kubica to this season. One of the top 3 talents if you ask me, grid looks just a little less galactic without him.

      Particularly love that line from the Guardian, how a socialist ruler thinks he can square socialism with the most Capitalistic sport on the planet is beyond me but hey! It’s always been something I struggle with when when revealing my motorsports passion to lefite mates.

      1. Still mourning the loss of Kubica to this season. One of the top 3 talents if you ask me, grid looks just a little less galactic without him.

        Scribe’s a poet, go figure!.

    4. who won the tickets to the launch?

    5. Damn, I forgot I would be having tomorrow off and never entered the competition at the time!

      Anyone up watching the Superbowl too? Good game so far!

      1. I watched, it was held in my hometown!! It was a great game!!

        Can’t wait to see the Virgin launch!

    6. For all the talk of how good Ben R is the Steelers refuse to throw the ball.

      1. The real question being, just what is going on here?

        1. Well, there’s some guys in green and there’s some guys in white, and they’re all lining up in the middle of the field, and I don’t really know what’s happening. Now there’s a guy pointing, and they’re all wrestling with each other. And the crowd is cheering, so apparently something good happened.

          1. I spotted that but ended up all the more nonplussed.

            1. Really – you don’t understand American Football, but you know how a blown diffuser works?
              I know which fans are brighter – don’t prove me wrong.

              And Jake needs to Read a little beforehand – Mike was a tightend at college rather than sacking folk in his garden.

            2. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
              7th February 2011, 8:19

              Yep, but a blown diffuser makes sense. American Football doesn’t

            3. @Sparky123 – do you understand Rugby and can you tell me the difference between Rugby Union and Rugby League??

              I don’t think many people outside of America understand American Football…

          2. You mean there are some guys in Team Lotus colors and some guys in Renault colors…

            1. No, but wouldn’t it be perfect if they were?

            2. lol, love it

            3. …and the Team Lotus colored team won.

          3. i just watched the highlights and still dont understand who won

        2. I thought Jake did a really good job finding out! Man of many presenting talents.

      2. Big Ben really isn’t that great, most overrated quarterback to ever appear in 3 Superbowls.

        1. He was Terrible 2 weeks ago, and not much better today.

          1. Cracked under pressure in the last 2 downs of the game…

    7. Will be interesting to see how the new CFD Virgin Racing look like.

      1. can;t imagine it being too innovative. my guess is it’ll look very similar to last year’s. let’s wait and see!

        1. It all depends on how good they’re able to match track performance with the CFD data.

          First they have to have that in order, to effectively negate the effect of not having a windtunnel.

          So, if they’re still struggling in the CFDtotrack-matching-area, they probably won’t do too much in the innovation-area.

          However, as soon as they’re confident enough with the CFD, then I expect great things.

    8. Patrick Head is to retire this year. The partial floating of Williams is to buy the old boy out.

      1. Where did you get that from?

      2. Maybe this gives room to some fresh blood at Williams, which I think is about time.

        He did make room for Sam Michael, but we haven’t seen anything from him either. Ok, Williams had a double diffuser, but they didn’t actually set the world on fire with it. Maybe there are other big achievements from Michael, however I can’t remember.

        So, I hope the flotation brings some extra dynamics with it, helping to bring Williams back to the front.

        1. They were quite cunning about it when there was the original Q&A. Im suprised no one jumped on it:

          Q. Is retirement a current consideration for Frank?
          ASP. No. Retirement is categorically not on Frank’s agenda. Anyone who knows Frank knows this.

        2. The rear treatement on this years car looks very special. What’s actually done with it is an interesting question, an how far the car really is we are yet to find out but hey, it does look good.

          1. If you believe Will Buxton’s tweets, Rubens looked terribly bummed at Valencia like the car was very disappointing.

        3. I don’t think people understand the magnitude of how bad the team has declined in recent years.

          Look at Toyota for example. In the sport for 8 years and consensus is that their spell in the sport was below par. However from 2005 to 2009 it was 4-1 to Toyota vs Williams in constructors points, yet Toyotas performance is seen as pitiful.

          Those that look past their personal preferences and emotions would have seen a long time ago Williams has been in decline. This has been reflective of them losing sponsorship and money has become a massive issue in recent years. People may be aware that Frank Williams doesn’t travel to the flyaway races anymore. Why, he sold his private jet as the team simply needed the money.

          No manufacturer backing, no backing of a billionaire – the odds are against you. Its a shame as you could make the cars go just as fast for half the price easily.

          1. You almost answered your own question – the reason Toyota compares poorly to Williams is that Toyota were spending much much more than Williams were. You come in with a mega budget and are only competing with a team on a shoestring – thats why Toyota are thought of poorly.

            No one is denying Williams have been struggling for the past few years. I’ve been a massive fan since I was yay high (picture me holding my hand not far above the floor) and it kills me to see the team so far back. They have been doing poorly recently. But things seem to slowly be turning around from the last couple of years, I think Parr is doing some good things on the business side of things, they just need to be a bit more aggressive on the technical front and with recruiting technical staff.

            Hopefully with Parr now Chairman as well as CEO there may be some restructuring (in fact I think this was hinted at last year) and the team may lift. I reckon that bloke has a good head on his shoulders. I hope so.

            The best quote I’ve heard about the Williams team comes from Sir Frank himself “We’re racers. We race to be first on the plane, we race to be first to the baggage carosels, we race to be first to the car rental to get the best cars, we race to the hotel. It’s who we are, it’s why we exist.”

            With a mindset like that they will rise back up. It’s why Sir Frank sold the plane, because nothing matters except racing.

            1. Yea I agree with you on all points and they are the team everyone wants to see succeed.

              Its a shame. That mentality used to be the status quo in the sport, now its only the mindset of some struggling has-beens.

    9. As happy as I felt on Friday after everyone was positive from first testing, McLaren had a real good launch of an interesting car and we had everything to look forward to, I must admit, that I am curious about the Virgin launch today and the FI tomorrow, but nowhere near looking forward to it as I am looking forward to (hopefully) hearing positive things from a hospital in Italy.

      1. I share your sentiment. Really hope RK will be able to make a full recovery.

    10. Eric Boullier answers any questions on why to allow Robert Kubica to do Rally next to F1 quite well here:

      Renault team principal Eric Boullier said, “Robert is a person we love dearly: we are extremely sad and obviously shocked. We’ve let him do it because rallying is what he loves to do. Rallying is vital for Robert and for his sanity. Besides that, there is a reciprocal agreement. We knew the risks and so did he. We didn’t want a robot or a corporate man for a driver.”

      Thats from who took it from Gazzetta dello Sport

      1. “Rallying is vital for Robert and for his sanity.”

        Thats quite an odd statement.

        1. “Rallying is vital for Robert and for his sanity.”
          Thats quite an odd statement

          English isn’t Eric Boullier’s strong suite, its part of his charm.

          1. I read that as saying something along the lines of “it improves his mental strength”.

        2. Probably lost something in the translation…

        3. Boullier is simply trying to justify why Renault allowed Kubica to take part in a dangerous activity outside of F1.

          Most drivers are contractually bound not to participate in dangerous sports – hence Montoya’s pathetic tennis injury excuse to avoid being in breach of contract. The logic is that a driver like Kubica is the team’s most valuable asset. Allowing your most valuable asset to be put at risk with no benefit to the team is a bad idea.

          Renault intended to build their team around Kubica. That strategy may now have to be revised (especially if Kubica is unable to return) and at considerable cost. If it was Boullier who took the decision to allow Kubica to keep rallying then his job may be on the line. Hence trying to justify the decision as essential to keep Kubica happy and well-motivated.

        4. “Rallying is vital for Robert and for his sanity.”

          I didn’t take it quite so literally. I just think it’s hyperbole but that rallying is a very big passion for Robert and is a small pleasure in life for him when so much of his time is giving interviews, having the media follow him and then working inn the intense world of F1.

          1. Agree, I also took it that way Steph, I even have argued just that yesterday to people who said Renault should have stopped him competing. It just wouldn’t work to cage him like that, that’s part of what he liked about being in the Renault team.

            I compare it with Raikkonen getting tired of not feeling able to do what he liked, losing motivation and deciding to go rally instead of being an F1 driver. Although I doubt Kubica would have lost interest in that way, his motivation would have suffered.

    11. American football is overated ********

      1. Could not agree more

        1. Yup, I give it about 8/10 stars as well!

      2. American football

        What’s that? Never heard of it.

    12. As an American, who loves F1, who loves football (soccer) and most European games, it annoys me that American sports are not appreciated in Europe. I know I am in the minority and that many Americans share the same disdain for European sports that Europeans feel for American sports. But come, we should all give each other a chance! It will make the world a better place, I guarantee it.

      1. I stayed up until the end and I must admit it was one of the more exciting superbowls, to come from 3 scores down to be within a field goal of a tie is highly commendable. Personally, the only US sport I don’t watch is Baseball, but seeing as I don’t watch cricket either, I’m not biased either way!

        My teams are New England Patriots, Minnesota Timberwolves and the Detroit Red Wings!

      2. – European Sports
        + World Sports


        you’re right of course. :)

      3. Well to be honest i don’t know if American football is good or bad because i don’t know much about how it’s played except a few very basic staff and i never saw a game. But i did tried to watch baseball and i got bored out of my mind. The thing looked even more boring than golf.
        I just couldn’t understand what is exciting about it.
        Nascar seemed like a pretty boring racing too. Racing for so long just doing circles and overtakes were not exciting at all.
        But it’s all a matter of taste i guess. I won’t try to convince a guy to like what i like. I just enjoy what i enjoy.

        1. The problem I have with American Football is the same problem I have with NASCAR. They’re both so ingrained with schadenfreude and testosterone, that any aspects that are actually sporting are completely overshadowed. In the NFL it’s become so violent that players can suffer life threatening and debilitating injuries constantly. Many players suffer permanent brain damage, so the public can watch them smash their helmets together like sparring rams. In NASCAR many fans are watching only for the crashes… It’s like we’ve reverted to Roman times and these are our forms of gladiators and chariot racing. I have absolutely zero interest in either.

      4. For a long time, I had trouble understanding American Football. That ended after someone explained to me, that the play gets stopped that much to allow for commercial brakes!

        I must say, that is a strong reason to distrust a sport.
        But I like the fact they actually set out and got a European Legue set up a decade ago (Friend of mine has one son now playing in Germany, the other off to the US!).

        If you compare the disdain for football in the US that only started to get credibility after the World Championship was played over there, I think it has a lot to do with not knowing the sports and not being able to compete evenly in it for lack of experienced, high level cometition.

        1. The whole thing about stopping just for adverts is a bit of a myth. They do show adverts in the breaks, because sod all happens (I’ve been to a Canadian Football match and there;s nothing to see when play stops). They don’t show adverts at every break, though. There are a few points in the game where they break specifically for an advert, like the Two Minute Warning, but in that case it’s for dramatic effect, to build the tension before the end of the game.

          The game gets its money from advertising, we get to see some good averts during the Super Bowl itself, the rest of the time it’s a good time to get another drink or go to the bathroom and we don’t miss one bit of action. I hardly see what all the fuss is about.

          1. I think all the fuse is about the average NFL game has 12-13 minutes of actual game time. Thats real bad.

            1. Clearly that “stat” is using a specific definition of “game time”. There’s a whole hour of live play. So probably “gamne time” is meant to mean “running with the ball” or something. That’s like saying snooker has only X minutes of game time because that’s how long the balls are actually moving. In short, it’s a pretty ADD way of looking at it.

            2. Its defined as when the ball is actually in play, so I deem it to be a pretty damn accurate and relevant stat. It would have to be up there as one of the worst ratios of actual game time to length of overall broadcast.

              Your snooker analogy is fine, but thats probably why snooker will never be a mainstream sport with the world sporting audience.

      5. I don’t think its just European sport, its basically World sport vs American sport. Baseball, basketball, NFL, nascar, ice hockey – all huge in America, not a massive presense anywhere else in the world.

        Theres basically two groups to Western society – the Americans, and everyone else.

        1. I would take ice hockey out that list Hamish. Its a big sport in northen europe.

        2. By your definition I’d call myself “everyone else.” I like to watch F1, DH skiing, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, cycling…

      6. Ditto. Personally I enjoy American (and Canadian!) football just as much as rugby, because not being a rugby fan to me it’s just a variation on the same thing. Ditto with cricket and baseball, although actually I prefer baseball a little. We apparently love end-to-end football matches but pay no attention to basketball (my least favourite American sport, it has to be said) or ice hockey. Personally I feel we have a lot to learn from American sports, apart from all that best-of-7 stuff; give me a final or tw-legged contest any day!

    13. Anyone know if there is going to be a live stream of the Virgin launch? …Or do we just have to wait for pictures.

      1. We have to wait unfortunately.

      2. I think we have to rely on Keith’s photos.

        1. Oh! How very 20th century of Virgin. It would have cost all of £0 to set it up if they had a camera a laptop and a web connection.

          That’s disappointing.


          1. I know huh. Although I think we may have been spoiled lately by the Mclaren launch, I mean we even got to DRIVE their new car.

            1. the-muffin-man
              7th February 2011, 11:07

              After the dismal failure of their live launch last year I can see why they’re just emailing photos out!!

            2. I chose not to install that plugin, but that seemed like a nice idea. What kind of track did you get to drive it on and how realistic was the sim?

    14. The new car is on their website. Looks identical to last year but with a white nose. meh.

      1. the picture looks stretched to me.

        need to see it from a dif angle. the back may be different. The front wing is more developed isn’t it? or did they end the season with that wing?

        1. yes they are streched for some reason. The nose is wider than last year but still quite low and the rear is smaller.

      2. yep. the graphic artist has screwed up and stretched the pics. bit of a weird mistake to make.

      3. More interesting than the strange white nose, is that fact that the nose seems to be really low for current F1.

    15. I also notice the livery has lost the Manor paterns.

    16. Thats last years car isn’t it?

      1. lol that was my first though from a side on view. It actually looks quite different from the front thanks to the nose.

    17. the-muffin-man
      7th February 2011, 11:29

      Hmmm – they’ve not exactly moved forward with the design! I think we know who’ll be propping up the back of the grid this season (along with HRT if they turn up!).

    18. I thought last years car looked really low at the back like they didn’t have a double diffuser. This years car looks about the same as last years, but this time your not allowed to have a double diffuser so…hey…..score! ;-)

      I hope it works out for them and it’s reasonably competitive.

      It’s interesting that they are staying with the low nose whilst everyone else has a really high nose.

      1. Meeeh. After the McLaren and the Renault… this is pretty dull :P

        However, I’m sure it’s a much more finely tuned machine than the last attempt. I wanna hear some stats. :)

        1. backing Lotus over Virgin though :)

        2. Thats because the only change since last year is that the computer that designs the cars is no longer running Vista. :P

        3. Yea well lets be honest. The cars are getting pretty generic these days so its only really the livery that will make the difference. A bit of variation in wings yes, but not a grid of completely different cars as was the case 20+ years ago.

          Yes, the McLaren sidepods but that doesn’t really scream out “eye candy” does it?

          1. aaah Hamish… if only you had my eyes!! :) And also the split images of the changes to each car..

            I think I must be seeing more changes this year, with MY eyes, than any other year… maybe I’ve just got more geeky?

            1. Yea I see them also, but they are miniscule. Don’t get me wrong, but to salivate over the new side panels of a front wing?

              Aerodynamics in F1 is like the nuclear bomb – science has simply gone too far with it.

    19. Virgin photos have been released of the car.. I’m not overwhelmed by it. It looks average, but we’ll see. I could just be dismissing it because I’m annoyed they didn’t live stream it :P

    20. Maybe Nick Wirth’s CFD program only outputs one shape of car?

    21. To be fair to them it’s only their second year and evolving last years car is probably the safest way to go. Especially since they are using all CFD. They have all the real world data from last years car. If they went with a radical design there is always the chance that the CFD model wouldn’t quite be quite right in some aspect and the car wouldn’t turn out how they thought.

    22. Not sure if anyone’s posted this yet but Williams have confirmed that their stock exchange listing will be in Frankfurt:

      I wonder whether this is a clue to where the most interest in acquiring those shares might lie… ;)

    23. 2010 F1 season edit (
      Brief highlights package covering last season.

      Took them more than 3 months!

    24. I believe it was Carlos Reutemann who won the race 30 years ago, not Alan Jones.

    25. Looks like some good news about another US based sport – IndyCars have sealed a new deal with SkySport to broadcast in the UK in HD!

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