F1: Wirth company will foot bill for new fuel tanks
Published 31/03/2010 | 15:03
Virgin Racing technical director Nick Wirth has vowed to dip into his own company's coffers to correct his cars' fuel-tank woes.
Wirth confirmed during the Australian Grand Prix at the weekend the tank was not big enough to accommodate the amount of fuel required to complete a race.
Motor sport's world governing body, the FIA, are allowing Virgin to correct the error, although the new fuel tank will not be in place until the start of the European season in Spain in early May.
It means the team will likely face issues in Malaysia on Sunday and China a fortnight later, should drivers Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi avoid any reliability issues.
Wirth, through his own company in Bicester-based Wirth Research who designed the cars, is taking full responsibility, despite problems that unfolded along the way after the team's entry was confirmed.
"The chassis supplier is us - nothing to do with engine supplier or fuel supplier," Wirth told Autosport.
"What that means is that we are fixing it for the team. We are not charging the team.
"It's our responsibility to provide cars that can finish a grand prix. It's down to us."
Aside from the size of the tank, Wirth is also negotiating his way around a fuel pick-up issue that means his cars are carrying more fuel in qualifying, making them slightly heavier than their rivals.
"We've got problem after problem," added Wirth.
"We're a new team, well, not so much a new team, but a new manufacturer to Formula One.
"It's us. It's not a team issue, it's us. We are not doing a very good job at the moment, particularly in qualifying, of picking up all the fuel.
"We could have qualified (in Australia) ahead of our main competitor (Lotus) if it was not for the fuel load.
"That's pretty frustrating. But that's why I'm actually quite calm."