Ron Dennis has reacted to the news that Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin Group have agreed a commercial partnership with Brawn GP
"Sir Richard Branson is a hugely successful global businessman, and it's therefore excellent news for Formula 1 that he and the Virgin Group have entered the sport.
"But their entry shouldn't be seen as in some way bucking a trend. No, despite the global economic downturn, Formula 1's sponsorship situation remains remarkably robust. Yes, both ING (Renault) and RBS (Williams) have recently signalled their intention to exit the sport, but that says more about the situation facing those two troubled financial institutions than it does about Formula 1 - just as AIG's recent decision to end its sponsorship of Manchester United says more about the situation facing that troubled financial institution than it does about Premier League football.
"This year alone, we (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) have struck new sponsorship deals with Akzo Nobel, one of the world's leading chemical/manufacturing corporations, and Lenovo, one of the world's leading computer manufacturers, while we've also very recently renewed our deal with Kangaroo TV.
"Equally, the Korean electronics giant LG has recently entered into an official sponsorship relationship with Formula 1, while BMW have cut new sponsorship arrangements recently with both FxPro and Gauteng. Meanwhile, Red Bull have just announced new deals with Casio, Nautilus and Trust. Recent sponsorship renewals have been Panasonic (Toyota), Philips (Williams) and Allianz (Williams).
"Under the umbrella of FOTA, the teams have adopted voluntary cost-cutting measures this year and have further pledged to reduce costs by 50 per cent next year. We firmly believe that this approach will lead to a sustainable Formula 1 which will nonetheless retain the unique DNA and investability that have led all the companies I've mentioned above, including the Virgin Group, as well as many dozens of other sponsors in existing relationships with Formula 1 teams, to invest in Formula 1's unique DNA and thereby gain enormous returns on those investments."