Ecclestone would welcome Virgin in F1


F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has admitted that he would be delighted to see Richard Branson bring his Virgin empire to the grid.

"We would welcome them with open arms," Ecclestone told the Mirror. "He's exactly the type of person we would want in the sport.

"Sir Richard Branson is a wonderful guy," the Englishman continued. "I met him at Monza last year and we got on very well."

Fact is, with growing unrest between the teams, the manufacturers and the sport's powers that be, Ecclestone appears to need all the friends he can get.

Earlier this week, in a rare 'outburst', Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz said the sport should be owned by those that put on the show - the teams and manufacturers - accusing F1's current management of only being interested in money, while the Formula One Teams' Association is due to outline its vision for the sport's future next month.

Should the teams opt to head off and start their own series, Ecclestone might need to sign up Virgin for one of its XXXLarge packages - 20 F1 cars.

Last week, Ecclestone was linked with the management buy-out at Brackley, however, it is likely that any involvement would be restricted to opening a few doors for Fry and Co and possibly advancing some of the prize pot, in much the same way that he assisted Williams.

"I know about the management buyout," Ecclestone told the Mirror, "But if Virgin are interested and people say they want the same management, then that's great too."

However, with Branson being a close friend of Adrian Reynard, one of the men behind the original British American Racing team, and a man with racing in his DNA, it is highly unlikely that certain members of the of the current management would be retained... and in the words of Hamlet; "there's the rub".

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Published: 19/02/2009
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