Branson hints Virgin's Brawn deal will end in 2009
Fresh from the news that Brawn GP have generated $255 million (£153m) in brand exposure in their whirlwind first season, Sir Richard Branson admitted Virgin's relationship with the championship-winning team may be coming to an end. Branson linked up with the newly-formed Brawn team shortly before the opening race of the season, but the legendary entrepreneur admits they may no longer be able to afford to sponsor the team following their sensational year.
"It was the perfect relationship. Virgin loves to support an underdog but they are now one of the most expensive teams out there and certainly not underdogs any more," Branson told BBC Radio Five Live. "I don't think in our wildest dreams we thought this would happen. I knew they had a good car, as I happened to know one of the test drivers. But when I got on a plane to Melbourne with some Virgin stickers in my bag, having just shaken hands and given them some money, the last thing I expected was a first and second in the championship race."
Branson's company has been linked as a potential lead sponsor of new entrant Manor Motorsport's F1 team.