New Strategy = CFD + Wind Tunnel
The Virgin Racing (VR) Formula 1 team are parting ways with their CFD guru Nick Wirth after a poor start to the 2011 F1 season and a dismal first season in 2010. Most of the heat for VR's poor performance (wrongly in my opinion) has been laid at the feet of its CFD-only strategy advocated by Wirth. I argued in a recent blog post that the root cause of VR's problems are more likely a general lack of funding, rather than its CFD strategy.
It now appears that VR will mix in traditional wind tunnel testing with CFD in an attempt to improve their pace through better aerodynamic optimization. Clearly wind tunnel testing will stretch VR's budget to the limit, and possibly beyond. If we see a marked improvement in the team's results next season then I guess we will be able to conclude that wind tunnel testing is part of the secret sauce necessary for F1 success. If we don't see some improvement then I believe we arrive back at the general lack of funding, which reaches across many disciplines not just aerodynamics, as the root cause of VR's problems.