London: Virgin Racing announced a long-term technical partnership with McLaren on Monday that will give the Formula One back markers access to state-of-the-art facilities and expertise to help them move up the grid.
Virgin, yet to score a point since their debut at the start of last year, also said in a statement that they had acquired the Banbury facilities and Formula One business of former partners Wirth Racing Technologies.
The team will continue to use Cosworth engines while former Renault engineering head Pat Symonds, currently banned from direct involvement in the sport due to his ex-team’s involvement in a race-fixing scandal, remains a consultant.
They said the ultimate plan was “to develop a tailor-made new facility more suited to the team’s long-term tenure within the sport and allowing the team to come together under the same roof.”
Hailing a new chapter in the Russian-backed team’s development, Virgin said they were determined to become real contenders thanks to the link up with McLaren Applied Technologies.
Russian sportscar maker Marussia, who are title sponsors and significant stakeholders in the team, have said they want to be fighting for a podium finish by the time of the first Russian Grand Prix in Sochi in 2014.
The team severed ties with technical head Nick Wirth and his design company last month after a disappointing start to the season.
The McLaren deal will give them access to the McLaren wind tunnel, test rigs and driver simulators as well as race strategy tools and driver fitness programmes.
Previously, and uniquely, Virgin have been committed to using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to design their car solely with computers.
McLaren management and production staff will also be embedded within the team, as they have been in a similar arrangement with Force India.
“When we undertook our detailed review of the team in the first half of 2011, it was clear that our bold ambitions for the future would need to be matched with some equally bold steps towards achieving them,” said team chief executive Andy Webb.
“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.”