This post was written by Bostjan Budna for The Runoff Area. If you would like to contribute an article of your own to the site, visit the Contact page for ways to get in touch.
Dinnington, Thursday: Virgin boss Richard Branson has revealed that his team will not be present at the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix: “We thought we were going to be in Bahrain on time, but due to some technical issues, we won’t make it. We will be there, but we are expecting to be 60-70 minutes late.”
Spectators in Bahrain will get the chance to see drivers Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi racing for the whole weekend – although, as always, there won’t actually be any spectators.
“We will be racing,” Branson assured fans, “but unfortunately no one will be able to see us on television or Internet coverage, at least for the first hour or so. After that, we will suddenly appear, and we’re sure we will be in a fight for the points.”
Branson also took the opportunity to continue (endlessly) talking, mentioning another bet he has made in 2010 – in addition to his famous one with Lotus boss Tony Fernandes. “I made a bet with Vittorio Colao of Vodafone. If Virgin Racing beats McLaren in 2010, he will have to pay the bills of all Virgin Mobile customers for one month – and run a lap of the first race of 2011 wearing nothing but a telephone. On the other hand, if McLaren beat Virgin – unlikely, I know – I will run the lap, and also personally purchase one million Vodafone products.”
Niki Lauda was on hand to comment on the Virgin story: “I don’t care if they’re late,” the Austrian rent-a-quote said, “they will be champions. Or perhaps Mercedes. But I’m sure Ferrari will do it.”
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone expressed surprise at the revelations: “I never expected the Virgin to come last – I always thought it would come first.”