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Branson working on new Brawn deal

Richard Branson in MelbourneRichard Branson has made an offer to up his Virgin Group's sponsorship involvement with Brawn GP - but has insisted he will not break the bank to have a bigger presence on the team's cars.

Virgin announced at the Australian Grand Prix that it was to become a sponsor of Brawn, and Branson said at the time that there was a chance of him expanding the deal - to potentially become title sponsor.

Discussions about such plans are still ongoing, and Branson said in Bahrain on Saturday that he has laid out the terms to the team and was now awaiting an answer.

"The team have become very popular since the beginning of the season," said Branson. "We are negotiating, as are other people, and we may or may not end up doing a full branding exercise.

"If we end up not doing it, we will obviously be the sponsor for this year and would be delighted with the way it has gone. If we end up doing it, even better.

"Let's see how it goes. Someone could come in and pay a silly price, and we will bow out gracefully if that happens. But we've made an offer we feel we can afford."

Team principal Ross Brawn did not rule out a deal happening as soon as the Spanish Grand Prix, but said no decision had been made about what they were going to do.

"It's still in discussion," he explained. "We are looking to try and develop a bigger longer term relationship and it is understanding what they want and what we want. So it is still ongoing. The right deal could happen any time.

He added: "Any team is looking for medium term commitments particularly in this environment so it would be nice to have our principal funding in place for the next few years."

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