Mere weeks after rising from Honda's ashes as 'Brawn GP', the Brackley based team could be set for yet another name change.

Mere weeks after rising from Honda's ashes as 'Brawn GP', the Brackley based team could be set for yet another name change.

Following the eleventh-hour sponsorship deal with the Virgin brand, Sir Richard Branson in Melbourne admitted his company might take over the name of the Mercedes-powered team.

The British billionaire told selected journalists at Albert Park that Saturday's announcement was just the first part of the new Brawn collaboration.

"I think, even in the next three to four weeks, we would all like to see this develop into a more complete relationship. We will have to see," Branson said.

The first step - perhaps after next weekend's Malaysian grand prix - will be obtaining permission for a substantially new livery, after a few Virgin logos were hurriedly added to the white and yellow BGP001 car for Saturday's running.

Slightly beyond that, applications for a name change - requiring the agreement of all the teams - are likely, and it is rumoured that some equity may also change hands.

Asked about the possibility of the 'Brawn' team becoming 'Virgin', Branson said: "It is certainly possible.

"I don't think the team want to have the name not promoting anything, everybody knows it has a great engineer (Ross Brawn) so there is not the need for it to be named after an engineer.

"That (the name) may well change, but we have to see what happens," said Branson, who may attend a few more races this season.

In the past, Virgin has been courted vigorously by F1 figures including Adrian Reynard and Eddie Jordan, so Branson was visibly delighted with his timing when Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello dominated qualifying on Saturday.

"I'm a lucky bastard!" he grinned in conversation with the British broadcaster BBC.

 

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