Russian supercar firm invests in Virgin Racing

November 11, 2010

Virgin Racing have secured their place on the Formula 1 grid until 2014 after Russian carmaker Marussia Motors bought a “significant stake” in the team.

The team will be rebranded as Marussia Virgin Racing in 2011 and their new car is set to be launched in Moscow.

Virgin team boss John Booth said: “It’s massive. The future was solid but this makes us secure for four years.”

The team will continue its relationship with Richard Branson’s Virgin brand, who joined as title sponsors in 2009.

The British tycoon signed a three-year title sponsor deal with the rookie team last December, which saw Sheffield-based Manor Motorsport rebranded as Virgin Racing.

Branson said of the new deal inked in Abu Dhabi: “Virgin is delighted to have secured a partner which shares our vision and spirit for challenging the establishment.”

The team’s new partnership is headed by Russian Top Gear presenter and racing driver Nikolay Fomenko.

His company Marussia Motors has acquired an undisclosed shareholding in the team with a view to furthering Russian involvement in F1 ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, which is due to make its bow on the calendar in 2014.

“We are looking forward to this cooperation as there will be a grand prix in Sochi,” Fomenko said in Abu Dhabi.

“We will [also] demonstrate to the world that a new manufacturer has arrived from Russia with truly international ambitions.”

Virgin have yet to finalise their 2011 driver line-up and the Russian cash injection has prompted speculation the team could employ a Russian driver.

Vitaly Petrov became the first Russian driver to compete in F1 this season but his future at Renault is still in doubt.