Dinnington, Monday: F1 fans have expressed continued outrage over the use of the name “Virgin Racing” by the new-for-2010 Formula One team, claiming that the Virgin name should not be appropriated by such an undeserving outfit.

Controversial: The unpopularly named Virgin Racing

The Virgin team participated in their first F1 group test at Jerez last week, with a troubled start early in the week leading to a more promising run by Lucas di Grassi on Saturday. However, controversy still surrounds the team – run by British-based Manor Motorsport – because of its name.

“The name Virgin evokes a very strong emotional connection to Mary, the mother of Jesus,” one fan reasoned, “and all of the history and tradition associated with her. It is simply not right that a new F1 team can turn up out of nowhere and name themselves as if they had some sort of connection to the Holy Mother. They’re not even the right nationality – Mary was from Judea whereas this ragtag bunch of nobodies are just British.”

The team themselves, however, have acknowledged that their name carries other associations but that they will be proud to continue the heritage left by Mary: “No one can take away what she achieved, and we will be proud to add to that list of achievements,” team principal John Booth was quoted as saying.

The view that Virgin should not be permitted to use such an iconic and historic name is shared by fans from around the world: “We can’t have people just going round naming things whatever they want. That would be ridiculous,” one Greek fan commented.

The British press, however, are largely positive about the name: “There’s something fitting about the re-emergence of the Virgin at this time,” one tabloid editor explained, “at the same time as we are experiencing the Second Coming in the form of Lewis Hamilton. Or is it Jenson Button now? I’ll just have to check.”