Monday, February 23, 2009

Virgin to the rescue?

As the clock continues ticking down on the impending 2009 Formula 1 season opener in Melbourne, there’s been a flurry of rumours flying about le internets over the current state of the Honda F1 team.

Speculation has suggested just about everything (minus the kitchen sink) including Carlos Slim buying the team, Brazilian Oil money, Bruno Senna being signed, etc. As the perceived notion was that having missed Honda’s Jan. 31st deadline for deals; Nick Frye and Ross Brawn were leading a management buyout of the team from parent company Honda...

Yet, apparently at the eleventh hour, a new bidder has entered the fray, which will potentially see Richard Branson and his Virgin Group outbidding Frye & Brawn’s deal, as even Emperor Bernardo has publicly welcomed Branson’s addition to the F1 circus, claiming he’ll do whatever possible to get hold of Virgin’s money!

And although some pundits are pondering the advantages of Virgin joining the Formula 1 paddock, consider that departing F1 sponsor ING has reported a global marketing presence up tick of 16% during its tenure in the sport, while Branson may be keen to use the sport to his advantage to market his Virgin Fuels, a company targeting commercial aircraft biofuel production, or simply draw brand attention overall and ultimately make a profit upon a future sale-off of the team? (Not to mention perhaps potential write-off?)

The interesting part of this deal if true, is whom will lead the Technical aspect of the operation, as scuttlebutt has linked David Richards in the deal, while reputedly Branson’s next door neighbor and friend is some bloke named Adrian Reynard... Thus would this make Ross Brawn the odd man out? Or just send Nick Frye packing...