Lotus versus Virgin rivalry heats up

Thu, 17 December 2009, 10:01

Dec.17 (GMM) Lotus team boss Tony Fernandes has doubted Virgin Racing’s claim that it can be competitive in formula one without using a wind tunnel.

Virgin’s designer Nick Wirth, who owned Simtek and was also involved with Benetton in the late 90s, has penned the 2010 single seater by using only computers and simulation technology.

“(Virgin are) very convinced that is the way forward, that you can do it all with CFD,” Fernandes told Reuters. “I am from the aviation business, mate. You can’t. You’ve got to have a wind tunnel.”

The rivalry between Lotus and Virgin, whose bosses Fernandes (AirAsia) and Sir Richard Branson both run airlines, took a cheeky turn this week when Branson dared Fernandes to become a female Virgin stewardess if his team is beaten in 2010.

Fernandes responded by saying “bring it on”, while a photoshopped image of Branson wearing AirAsia stewardess gear was posted on the Lotus team website.

“Knowing Richard, the real challenge will be to prevent him from asking our guests ‘coffee, tea or me?’ That would be scary,” said Fernandes.

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