The engineers of the V irgin-Teams almost hit the blow when they recognized the embarrassing mistake: the tank in the new VR-01 was so small that the fuel was not enough to finish a Formula 1 race. Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi's Virgin racers would only see the checkered flag under certain conditions. When it rains. Or when a safety car ensures slow pace and many laps in fuel-saving mode.
In Melbourne, Virgin even spared himself the lap into the starting grid and the formation lap by starting from the pit lane. 'We would have crossed the finish line,' insists Timo Glock. A defect in the rear suspension thwarted his plans.
10 to 25 liters too little fuel at Virgin
With a normal one The race course will be tight for the cars of airline tycoon Richard Branson. The drivers would have to drive with the leanest mixture for so long that the Cosworth V8 would be damaged. How much the tank in the Virgin VR-01 is too small, the reports differ. Some speak of ten, others of 25 liters. But how did it come to this?
Three reasons are put forward. When the chassis was approved, Virgin still assumed that they could refuel on the grid. Make a round of loss. Since the FIA requires a new crash test in the area of the tank, the chamber in which the tank bladder is embedded had to be reinforced. This shrank the contents of the tank bladder by another cubic centimeter, which would cost another two rounds.
Calculation errors in the fuel density
The biggest problem was that Information from fuel supplier BP on the composition of the gasoline. Virgin offset itself with the fuel density by five percent. Head of Technology Nick Wirth has to take it on his own terms. Williams also runs on BP gasoline. And they come over the distance without need.
The tank bankruptcy was used as an opportunity to criticize Nick Wirth's belief in the power of computers. The Virgin is the only car in the field that was developed without a wind tunnel. Wirth swears by his CFD and simulation computers.
Glock continues to believe in the CFD approach
Peter Saubercriticized: 'I calculate the tank capacity on a calculator.' Despite the glitch, Glock continues to believe in the concept of virtual design. 'The aerodynamic changes that we have made so far corresponded in reality to 98 percent of what the CFD calculation had promised us.'