Virgin Racing agree partnership with McLaren Technology

Jerome D'Ambrosio drives for Virgin
Virgin will use McLaren's wind tunnel and test rig to help improve their car

Virgin Racing and McLaren have agreed a technical partnership with immediate effect aimed at helping the fledging Virgin team move up the grid.

Virgin will have access to McLaren's facilities including their driver simulator, test rigs and wind tunnel.

The deal will mean members of McLaren's team are embedded within Virgin.

Virgin Racing also confirmed they have bought the Formula 1 wing of their former technical director Nick Wirth's company Wirth Research Technologies.

BBC Look North understands that Virgin Racing are pulling out of their base at Dinnington, South Yorkshire.

Russian sportscar maker Marussia Motors, which bought a controlling interest in the team late last year, and the board decided to cut ties with Wirth in June after a disappointing start to their second season in F1.

Wirth had pioneered the use of computer technology, known as computational fluid dynamics (CFD), to design and develop the car but the new technical agreement with McLaren represents a shift in priorities.

Former Renault engineering director Pat Symonds, who was suspended from F1 for his part in the 2008 race-fixing controversy, has been acting as a consultant for Virgin since February and will now play a major part in forging the team's technical direction.

"Our bold ambitions for the future would need to be matched with some equally bold steps towards achieving them," said Virgin Racing 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 necessary leap forwards."

McLaren entered a similar arrangement with Force India in 2008 and elements of that agreement, which also sees Force India use the same Mercedes engines and gearbox technology, was recently extended.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh commented on the new arrangement with Virgin: "These properties are state-of-the-art, and we confidently therefore expect Virgin Racing to derive significant benefits from it.

"We recognise that Andy Webb and his team was extremely positive and very serious about making developments that will lift the competitiveness of their cars over the coming years."

Virgin confirmed that they will continue to use Cosworth engines.

The team are bottom of the standings at the halfway point of the 2011 season with neither Timo Glock or Jerome D'Ambrosio able to score a point.

For more on this story watch BBC Look North on Tuesday from 1830 BST.

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