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Thursday Thoughts - A Branson pickle - Does Richard Branson regret abandoning Brawn GP?

Published by Christine

This week, Jackie has posed the question over on Viva F1, and it's a great one:

Do you think that Richard Branson regrets his decision to buy Manor instead of sticking with Brawn GP?

The question comes from the fact that Virgin Racing are having a really tough time in testing at the moment and things stopped going well the moment the car hit the track. At first glance, you'd have to think that Mr Branson is scratching his head and wondering what he's got himself into.

Virgin Racing test in Jerez
Virgin Racing test in JerezCredit: Virgin Racing

I'm not sure that he would regret his decision though. If he had invested more in the Brawn project, he may have got a little more exposure on the car and made a few more headlines. It's not as though he wasn't always hanging around the garage anyway, though, and he was certainly quoted a few times on what a fantastic team he was involved with. I can't believe he feels like he missed out during 2009. He perhaps could have made some more money with the team, if the Mercedes deal had still come to fruition and he'd had more of a stake in Brawn. I don't suppose he really needs more money though, or that is top of his agenda.

What he has got with Virgin Racing, né Manor, is the opportunity to build from scratch. Instead of piggy-backing on what was the most successful one year operation we've seen in a long time, he can make his mark on Formula One on his own terms.

At the moment, those terms don't seem to be going very well, but the battle between Virgin and Lotus is making headlines regardless, and it's fair to say that Virgin Racing are becoming a household name... in our household anyway. It's a bit early to tell whether the car will let down the dream or not. Clearly they are having pre-season issues, but at least they have a car and that already puts them one step ahead of some of the other new teams.

Branson may be a bit concerned about the early year reliability niggles, and he may be wishing for simpler times when Ross Brawn had all the headaches, but if they can keep going in the style they have begun, I think Formula One will be good for Virgin, and Virgin will be good for Formula One.