Virgin and Wirth part company

UPDATE (GMM) Virgin on Thursday confirmed reports Nick Wirth has left the struggling team.

Chief executive Andy Webb told us in a statement that the decision followed a "comprehensive review" in the wake of Russian carmaker Marussia's arrival as title sponsor and investor.

The statement said "it is readily apparent that the team must take major steps in order to accelerate its rate of improvement".

"Consequently, the decision has been taken that the team will take greater control of its own destiny," added Webb, revealing Virgin has therefore been "obliged to terminate our relationship" with Wirth and his company Wirth Research.

"Looking ahead, we will now be pursuing an alternative technical path and look forward to announcing our plans in more detail over the coming weeks," he said.

Webb however denied suggestions the split with Wirth means the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach has proved a failure, but left the door open to new options.

"At this stage I would like to underline our continued commitment to a cost-efficient commercial model," he said.

"We maintain our absolute belief in CFD as a technology, especially since it continues to become more cost-effective with every year.

"Naturally, we will continue to use every means at our disposal to improve the aerodynamics of our car with immediate effect."

06/01/11 Virgin has parted company with technical director Nick Wirth following its disappointing start to the season.

The team had targeted reaching Q2 on a regular basis this year, but has failed to start any higher than the tenth row during the first six races of the season. As a result, Wirth Research is no longer a part of the operation.

Former Renault director of engineering Pat Symonds has overseen the review of Virgin, and is understood to be heading up plans for its 2012 car in his capacity as a consultant.

"The decision has been taken that the team will take greater control of its own destiny," said Marussia Virgin CEO Andy Webb in a statement to AUTOSPORT.

"Accordingly, having consulted with our existing technical partner during the course of the past few weeks, we have been obliged to terminate our relationship with them."

"I believe that the steps we are taking in terms of our technical leadership and operational excellence will provide us with the robust foundation required to go on and achieve our performance objectives in the years ahead. These are bold but positive steps that will enable us to move forward with confidence."

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