Richard Branson confirms his company will sponsor new F1 entry Brawn GP

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    Richard Branson confirms his company will sponsor new F1 entry Brawn GP

    Post by Ross on 28th March 2009, 01:35

    Virgin confirms Brawn GP deal

    Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has been confirmed as the Brawn GP team’s first major sponsor.

    The deal, which as predicted on Friday would be announced this weekend, was confirmed at a joint press conference featuring Branson and team owner Ross Brawn before Saturday’s afternoon’s final practice session in Australia.

    Branson’s involvement has been described as a "substantial sponsorship deal" with the team saying it expected it to develop into a “broader relationship” between the two groups.

    Branson, who was linked as a possible savour for the former Honda Racing team last month before Ross Brawn’s management buyout, confirmed the tie-up was “a two stage deal”.

    "I have always said I would love for Virgin to be involved in Formula 1 and I am thrilled that we will be entering this fantastic sport with people as skilled as Ross Brawn and the Brawn GP team,” Branson said in Melbourne on Saturday.

    "Our [initial] interest was to see if we could save the team, the team has [now] been saved.

    “They have already proved in their tests how well they've been doing.

    “We've signed what may be a two stage deal, the first stage is that Virgin will be on the car.

    "Hopefully over the next few weeks it might evolve into something more."

    After previously running with an unbranded BGP 001 car in testing and Friday’s opening practice sessions, Virgin logos immediately featured on the car in final practice with small stickers initially being placed on the front wing endplates and upper body of the car.

    Branson also revealed that as part of Virgin’s first major involvement in Formula 1 he would be looking into leading a clean-fuel revolution in the sport, having already invested profits from the group’s train and airline businesses into developing a greener fuel.

    "I said that there are two preconditions to us to come into F1, one is that the costs needed to come down,” Branson said.

    “The other is F1 should be spearheading a clean fuel revolution.

    "Over the next few months we will be trying to talk to F1 and the various car companies and see if we can have this fuel introduced as the fuel F1 uses so that this sport can go from being a polluting sport to being a clean sport."

    When setting out his pre-conditions for bring his Virgin brand into the sport last month, Branson said that in addition to developing greener technology it was vital the sport got costs under control.

    Speaking on Saturday in Melbourne, the entrepreneur said that the ongoingcost-cutting drive should benefit people like Brawn and allow such team's to thrive in F1’s new era.

    “The sport will benefit from the costs coming down, right across the board,” he said.

    “The engineers will have to use their skills and not just the cheque book.

    “Ross has come up with this diffuser which is very cheap to produce.

    "Virgin loves to invest in great engineers, in space we invested in Bert Ratan, the genius or space engineering.

    “Ross Brawn is the genius of engineering down here on earth and hopefully he'll prove his genius yet again in the coming days.

    “We'll be extremely proud to have Virgin on what is currently a white car."

    The start of Branson’s F1 involvement could coincide with a debut race victory for the Brawn GP team after the rescued squad showed stunning pace in pre-season.

    Branson admits he would be thrilled if either Jenson Button or Rubens Barrichello could finish on the podium in a Virgin-branded car.

    "I've had a few sporting events myself,” he said.

    “Normally failed first and second time and succeeded third time.

    “If Jenson or Rubens come in top three we'd be absolutely delighted."

    Meanwhile, team owner Brawn welcomed his new squad’s major sponsor and looked forward to enjoying a successful partnership.

    "On behalf of the Brawn GP team, we are delighted to have signed a partnership agreement with Sir Richard and Virgin in Melbourne today,” Brawn said.

    “An exciting debut race weekend for our team has become even more important as we have secured our second commercial agreement of the season.

    “We look forward to working closely with the Virgin Group and sharing our on-track successes."


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