• Manor

Virgin man may be Manor's boss

ESPNF1 Staff
December 2, 2009 « Soucek tops times on day one at Jerez | »
Alex Tai with Virgin boss Richard Branson © Getty Images

The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) has added more weight to the long expected Virgin sponsorship of the Manor Grand Prix team. FOTA the body which represents the interests of F1 teams has listed Alex Tai as sitting on the executive committee for Manor Grand Prix alongside other team principals such as Frank Williams and Vijay Mallya.

Tai was a Virgin executive whose most recent post was as head of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic - the space flight arm of the company planning to send tourists to space. He also worked on the deal to bring Virgin sponsorship to Brawn last year.

Soon after Brawn took the title Branson was already making noises that the relationship would not continue. An announcement about the company's future involvement was expected at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but the publicity loving company and its multi-millionaire boss have been uncharacteristically quiet.

The FIA's official entry list for next year all but confirmed the rumours, however, naming Manor as Virgin Racing. Manor has yet to release any details of its deal with Virgin, but an announcement is expected imminently. A Virgin representative told ESPNF1 that the company was unable to comment on its involvement with Manor at this time but did confirm Tai was an employee of the team.