With much attention having been focused on Virgin Racing's difficult start to testing at Jerez in Spain this week, Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne has joined Red Bull's resident design genius Adrian Newey in claiming that the use of wind tunnels remains vital in F1.
Virgin Racing's new VR-01 is the first modern era F1 car to have been designed without the use of a wind tunnel – with technical head Nick Wirth having just used Computational Fluid Dynamics.
Speaking about the CFD tactic, Gascoyne said: "I think it is an integral part, but it is not a complete part."
When asked about his reaction to Newey's comments, Gascoyne said: "Well, I think he is one of the best aerodynamicists in F1. I used to be an aerodynamicist, and my PhD was in CFD, and I think I would kind of agree with him.
"You look at BMW when Albert II was announced as one of the world's biggest supercomputers dedicated just to their CFD. If you look at Enstone, they built their environmentally friendly CFD center with a huge computing resource. I don't think these guys are idiots, and they also have wind tunnels.
"I know Bob Bell at Renault very well – he is a clever guy who gave me my first job in F1 and he is a trained aerodynamicist – and I think he thinks you need a wind tunnel. I think CFD is a very exciting technology and it is advancing, but is it an absolute? I don't think there are many people who think it is."