Schumacher and Virgin the two biggest unknowns for 2011

January 13, 2011

Unfortunatley due to commitments here at Cranfield I have not been able to make it up to the Autosport International show at the NEC. But I have just seen some comments made by Virgin Racing’s Technical Director, Nick Wirth, about their optimism for 2011. I think the way the Virgin car goes in 2011 will be very interesting. I always remember Jackie and Paul Stewart telling me how the second year was far tougher for Stewart Grand Prix than the first, as they were now using a car that was developed while they were trying to make a reasonable go at their first season, and so we can get a far better idea of the capability (or not) of the new teams in 2011 as compared with 2010. I suspect we will see the new Virgin affirming that their approach of using 100% CFD as opposed to combining this with the wind tunnel, as the way to go, but it might still be too soon for this to really pull away from Team Lotus and HRT.

The other unknown is how Michael Schumacher will perform on Pirelli tyres and with a car that was developed with him in mind. At Ferrari’s annual Vrooom press event Fernando Alonso identified Michael as his biggest threat for 2011. So Schumacher and Virgin could be the big surprises of the season, with the other being just how many Lotus’s we end up with (what’s the collective noun for an F1 Lotus team – is it a packet?).

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