Russian sportscar company, Marussia Motors, have bought a major stake in the Virgin Racing team, securing its future.
The Virgin team joined Formula One this season, and have struggled somewhat to make an impact so far. Marussia have been a partner since the formation of the team, their logos appearing on both cars and drivers.
The team will now be known as Marussia Virgin Racing.
“Our first year in Formula 1 was always going to be tough – even more so as we were launching in the midst of a worldwide recession,” said Virgin chief Richard Branson.
“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 F1 grid.”
Graeme Lowdon, CEO of Virgin Racing, added: “This announcement cements our place on the F1 grid and is testimony to the hard work and dedication of every single member of our team.”
Meanwhile the deal has spiced up speculation about the teams second driver. While John Booth says the team are in no hurry to decide upon a second driver to partner Timo Glock next season, multiple names are being linked with the seat. These include current driver Lucas di Grassi, Jerome D’Ambrosio and Giedo va der Garde.
The deal with a Russian manufacturer has made some sources link out of favour Renault driver Vitaly Petrov with the seat, but Booth says a Russian racer in the team is some way off yet.
“There is nothing on the horizon for a Russian driver at the moment, but they have come on in leaps and bounds over the last five years,” he said. “We have [Vitaly] Petrov in F1 and [Mikhail] Aleshin in World Series, so Russian drivers are going from strength to strength.”