Branson hopes for F1 top-10 bonus With his worldwide Virgin brand having joined the Formula 1 grid as a team in its own right this season, Sir Richard Branson admits that he has thus far been relaxed over whether the Sheffield-based squad finishes ahead of fellow newcomers Lotus and Hispania or not. However, the entrepreneur's interest has now increased significantly.
Even without scoring World Championship points, the tenth best team this season - judged by race finishing results - will be handed a £17m payout by F1 commercial rights holder Formula One Management (FOM). The scheme hands the premium to the team with the highest finishing positions in races but also takes into account the number of times the position has been achieved.
For instance, Heikki Kovalainen's 13th place finish in Australia currently places Lotus as the tenth team with Hispania next up because of Karun Chandhok's two 14th place classifications in Australia and Monaco; Virgin are only 13th as they have also achieved a 14th place but only once, with Lucas di Grassi in Malaysia.
"There's some money? You never told me that!" Branson is quoted as saying by BBC Sport, having been notified off the initiative by Virgin Racing CEO Graeme Lowdon. "It does make a difference. Whereas I said I wouldn't mind about tenth place, I've suddenly taken a big interest!"
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