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F1 NEWS 

Virgin to sponsor Brawn GP

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group is within hours of confirming its involvement in Formula 1 as a major sponsor of the Brawn GP team.

Following reports that initially appeared in The Times, AUTOSPORT has confirmed that Branson is now en route to Melbourne to confirm that he will become a backer of the Brackley-based team.

Sources say he is so keen to press ahead with the deal that he has cut short a family ski holiday to finalise the deal in person.

Brawn GP has run unbranded so far, sticking to the white, yellow and black corporate colours used in testing so far , but are now poised to unveil a major rebranding exercise.

AUTOSPORT understands that it is possible new colours could be used on the cars as early as this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, where the team are among the favourites for victory.

As The Times reported, Branson is expected to confirm his involvement in a press conference at the Albert Park track this weekend.

Virgin had been linked with the buyout of the former Honda team earlier this year, but Branson admitted the sport needed to change before his Virgin Group got involved.

"I think there are faults that would need to be rectified before we could go into F1," Branson told the BBC.

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