Abu Dhabi: What took the Red Bull Racing Formula One team to achieve in six years — winning their first championship title — the newly re-named Marussia Virgin Racing team will try in five, Sir Richard Branson said yesterday at a media roundtable.
"We were lucky last year to win the Formula One as we did, coming out of nowhere, now we're aiming to beat Red Bull's record. I would be very delighted if we were able to achieve that," Branson said.
"The team is only 12 months old but is nearly the best of the new teams, which is a tremendous start, especially as we proved that you can do just as well with a smaller budget as those who spend millions," he added.
The event was held to discuss Russian sports carmaker, Marussia Motors, acquiring a majority stake in Virgin Racing, which was announced to the international media on Thursday.
It was attended by Branson, Nikolay Fomenko, President of Marussia Motors, and Darryl Eales, Chairman of Lloyds Development Capital.
"We're delighted that this partnership has been formed. It shows great confidence in the Virgin team and Marussia is a great company that is focused on creating a fantastic Formula 1 car, and this deal, which has also brought in some investments, is great for the team and will take us safely into the future," Branson said.
He also discussed the recent controversy surrounding the comments made by Formula One Chief Bernie Ecclestone, who had described this year's new teams, Virgin, Lotus and Hispania, as "cripples" and "an embarrassment" .
"I spoke to Bernie two days ago and he dismissed the published statements. I felt that it didn't seem to be his words as he was the one who wanted to see the new teams compete," Branson said.
Additionally, Branson revealed his thoughts about today's history making race, which sees four drivers competing for the championship title for the first time.
"This couldn't be a better finish to the end of the season. Coming down the wire like this is tremendous. It couldn't be better if someone created this scenario as the ending to a great film," Branson said.
"I genuinely believe that the Yas Marina Circuit is the best in the world and it was done with such style, which is something that the whole region can be proud of, along with the successful Bahrain Grand Prix," he added.