I followed curiously as Sir Richard Branson, accompanied by two dolly birds in Virgin T shirts made their way from the swipe gates to the Brawn GP garage to announce the sponsorship deal.
Branson knows a thing or two about getting publicity and this was an old-fashioned attention grab, which worked a treat. He was answering questions from Sky TV Italy, flashbulbs popping all around him. At one point he turned to one of the girls and said, “I think we’re doing rather well, don’t you?”
The Brawn mechanics were still putting the stickers on the back-board for the press conference when the principals came out. It was all rather last minute and very rock and roll.
John Button, Jenson’s Dad was loving it all. He pointed to the Virgin logo on the wall, “Haven’t seen one of those for ages,” he quipped.
Branson said that he is investing heavily in ‘clean’ fuels, which do not emit carbons. He says he has a fuel ready for F1 and is going to try to persuade the car companies and F1 in general to use it. Shell, Mobil and Total, who invest heavily in Ferrari, McLaren and Renault will be interested to hear that.
The stickers on the car are quite small, indicating that this is a toe in the water job Branson said however that it is potentially a two stage deal’. He’s talking to us later in more detail and we’ll find out if that means that he plans to take a shareholding in the team.