Marussia to brand Virgin engines?

Marussia, the Russian sports car maker that is planning to enter the market with a new car in 2010, is looking to use Formula One to promote its brand. The company was announced as one of the sponsors of the new Virgin Racing team at its launch four weeks ago, without any details being given.

Sources close to the team report that the deal between the two companies will mean the Cosworth V8 engine supply the team will use will be branded by Marussia, and the cars will be officially named Virgin-Marussia. The deal will be worth an extra 1.5m pounds for Cosworth, as that's the asking price for giving up the name of its own engine - and according to sources in England, will put another 1.5m pounds in Virgin's coffers as well - a good deal for all concerned.

Both Virgin Racing and Cosworth have denied the story.

It has also emerged that Virgin Racing will have its first Formula One run in Silverstone, close to its home base, on February 3rd and 4th. The team was expected to have the first chassis ready on time to make it to the group test in Valencia that starts two days earlier but won’t be able to complete all the work on time and has, therefore, booked the Northamptonshire track to complete the shakedown of the first chassis.

Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi are scheduled to drive one day each and then the team will pack up and move down to Spain, where it is expected to take part in the two test sessions in Jerez de la Frontera and the final group test in Barcelona during the last week of February.

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