Russian sports car company Marussia has acquired a “significant stake” in Virgin Racing, and the team will race as Marussia Virgin Racing in 2011.
Chief executive of Virgin Racing Graeme Lowdon said:
This is definitely a good news story for Virgin Racing and for Formula One. Marussia Motors has been a much-valued team partner throughout the 2010 season and we are delighted to introduce them formally as the significant shareholder in Virgin Racing and a major force in the team?óÔé¼Ôäós future. This announcement cements our place on the Formula One grid and is testimony to the hard work and dedication of every single member of our team.
Marussia has been a sponsor of Virgin since the team was launched at the end of last year and its logos already appear on the cars’ rear wing end plates.
Marussia owner Nikolay Fomenko said:
This is the realisation of a dream for Marussia Motors. While manufacturing, launching and marketing the Marussia B1, B2 and other concepts in Europe, we will have a Formula One team to promote these activities and demonstrate to the world that a new car manufacturer has arrived from Russia with truly international ambitions.
Marussia’s first car, the B1, is due to go on sale next year. The mid-engined sports car will be joined by the B2 and other models including SUVs in the future.
Like the VR-01, the B1 is powered by a Cosworth engine. General manager of Cosworth Mark Gallagher welcomed the news, saying:
Marussia has proven to be an excellent automotive client for Cosworth and it is a significant step for them to have opted to invest in Virgin Racing and further develop their relationship with us.
We have already been working closely with Marussia over the last 12 months and are fully engaged in assisting them with their ambitions to become the first upmarket, global Russian automotive company.
Following the news that a Formula One race will be held for the first time in Russia in 2014, Marussia?óÔé¼Ôäós important announcement concerning Virgin Racing further illustrates the impact the sport is beginning to make across Russia, and is therefore a welcome development.
There will be “no significant change to the team?óÔé¼Ôäós organisational structure” ahead of the 2011 seasson, according to a press statement.
Virgin founder Richard Branson said:
Our first year in Formula One was always going to be tough ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ even more so as we were launching in the midst of a worldwide recession. Virgin is delighted to have secured a partner which shares our vision and spirit for challenging the establishment and we look forward to working together to move the team up the Formula One grid.
Read more: list of 2011 F1 drivers and teams