Virgin F1 set to confirm Wirth split image

( Virgin is yet to officially confirm reports Nick Wirth has left the struggling team.

An Italian magazine on Wednesday said the Marussia-sponsored team is in talks with McLaren and Mercedes about a Force India-style technical collaboration for 2012.

The report said the new package would include the engine, transmission, KERS and rear suspension, reinforcing rumours that Virgin’s collaboration with technical director Wirth and his Wirth Research group was ending.

Virgin has been contacted for comment.

The news would come amid a difficult period for the team, with Wirth determined to design Virgin’s cars without a wind tunnel but the MVR-02 in danger of being overtaken by the back-of-the-grid HRT cars.

In Barcelona, the team removed its latest blown diffuser technology from the car, ostensibly because the FIA is set to issue a clarification about the legality of the concept that is widespread along the pitlane.

“We will see what this clarification looks like and then determine the direction we are going,” said Virgin Racing’s chief executive Graeme Lowdon in Monaco.