Late yesterday afternoon (1st June) Marussia Virgin Racing announced that they were parting company with Wirth Research, their technical partner. Nick Wirth lead the design of this years and last years car using a CFD only approach, avoiding the windtunnel all together (although rumours persist that the VR-01 saw a wind tunnel). This allowed the team to compete in the top flight of motorsport relativly cheaply (which in F1 terms is believed to be about $40 million) and was watched by teams with great interest.
If the team had proved succesful it would of signalled the end to the money pit tactic of putting parts through a wind tunnel, which despite being resticted under modern F1 rules still costs an extreme amount of money. If the CFD only route was a competitve option it would of allowed a lot of the smaller teams to operate at a profit and drastically reduce costs.
However with no meaningful improvement this year (in fact the team seem to be falling into the clutches of HRT, whos car was designed last minute on a napkin but using a wind tunnel) the team with their new investor Marussia have desided to go a different route. Pat Symmonds, the former Renault F1 technical director (until he told Piquet Jr to crash into a wall) will lead the design team for next year and the remainder of the year.
The team do have summer upgrades coming but these will be the last designed by Wirth and his team, Virgin are now looking at taking over or building a permenant F1 base with the former Arrows or Super Aguri sites as a strong possibility. Furthermore the team have said that they “Naturally, we will continue to use every means at our disposal to improve the aerodynamics of our car with immediate effect.” Which means its wind tunnel time for the MVR-02 it would seem.