New team challenge inspired Branson

Sir Richard Branson says he formed Virgin Racing because he was attracted by the challenges of building a new Formula 1 team from scratch, rather than continuing to fund an established success story

New team challenge inspired Branson

The British entrepreneur, who has built a fortune out of taking a pioneering approach to his business strategies, sponsored the double-championship winning Brawn team in 2009. But Branson, who has put the might of his Virgin Group behind Manor's plans to enter F1 with a car designed by Nick Wirth, said he wanted to be in on a project from the beginning.

"The temptation might have been to write a big cheque to Brawn and stick with it for another season," said Branson. "But when a team's won, you can't really do any better than winning.

"So we thought it was better to look for a new team and support that."

Branson is not expecting the same instant success from Virgin Racing that he experienced with Brawn in Melbourne, back in March, and says that it will take time to establish the foundations of a brand new F1 team.

"We're not expecting the same sort of good fortune that we had last year," he said. "We fully accept that we're going to have to build the team over the coming years. But it's going to be exciting to try and do that.

"The spaceship company that Alex Tae (Virgin Racing's CEO and Team Principal) has been involved with was very much a case of many years building and building. And I suspect the same will apply here.

"(Technical director) Nick Wirth and the people he's got around him are brilliant. Because Nick's there, he's attracted engineers from Brawn, from Red Bull, from almost all the other teams, and he's got a really great group of people.

"To get Timo Glock, who actually turned down quite a lot of money and turned down tried and tested cars, that was a tremendous endorsement."

Branson says his new venture is a long-term project, but expects the team to be able to fund itself through alternative sponsorship agreements when it becomes established in the sport.

The Virgin Group unveiled its plans for 2010 in London earlier this month, after Branson agreed to fund and rebrand Manor Grand Prix - one of the three new teams to gain an entry to F1 next year - and while Branson insists that he wants to remain a permanent part of the management structure, he does not intend to bankroll the outfit indefinitely.

"It's a three season deal," he said, "but when I say 'forever', they've got to attract enough sponsorship money to keep it going year after year, but I think because they're working within the £40 million budget, the chances are that they should be able to do that.

"I will help and be wheeled in when I'm needed, and will enjoy it and be involved, and be supportive of the drivers," he added. "I'll go to a number of the races and help get the motor racing team on the map on a global basis, which helps the sponsors, and have some fun in the process."

shares
comments
Schumacher pays tribute to Ferrari fans

Previous article

Schumacher pays tribute to Ferrari fans

Next article

Briatore: Schumacher can win again

Briatore: Schumacher can win again
Load comments
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Plus

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021