Virgin will announce officially on Thursday morning that it has sold a major stake in the new British F1 team to Russian supercar maker Marussia.
The announcement will take place at the plush Yas Marina Hotel, which straddles the formula one circuit.
Virgin confirmed that announcements about the team’s “plans for 2011” are scheduled for Thursday at 11.30 local time.
The news follows reports earlier this week that team sponsor Marussia, headed by racing driver and Russian Top Gear presenter Nikolai Fomenko, is buying into the team.
Fomenko confirmed to state owned news agency Ria Novosti that Marussia Motors has acquired a “significant stake” in Virgin Racing.
“Now we can state with full certainty that we have our team in formula one,” he said.
“Of course, it was not an easy decision for us. I’m not entitled to disclose the contract value, but it’s big money, believe me.”
The contract was reportedly signed in London last Saturday, with the team to be called ‘Marussia Virgin Racing’ and the 2011 car to be launched in Moscow early next year.
Marussia co-investor Andrey Cheglakov said the marque wants to keep ‘Virgin’ in its F1 name “to gain better recognition for the team itself”.
A report in the Financial Times said Marussia is buying out the team stake previously held by Lloyds Banking Group.
In 2010, Renault rookie Vitaly Petrov became the first Russian driver in F1, and a deal for a Russian grand prix near Sochi in 2014 was signed.
Fomenko said he would be interested in signing Petrov in the future.
“Today I am unable to provide him with a competitive car. And he needs to continue his career in a fast car. Just wait for one more season,” he said.
© RIF | GMM