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Virgin F1 team principal sackedUPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Virgin Racing, Britain’s new Formula One team, has confirmed the appointment of John Booth as Team Principal. John will replace Alex Tai, who occupied this role during the launch phase of the team. As part of the planned evolution of the team and continued development of the business, Alex has handed on the role of CEO and Team Principal of Virgin Racing to return to his passion for new ventures.
John previously held the position of the team’s Sporting Director and he was also the founder of Manor Motorsport.
Etienne de Villiers, Chairman of Virgin Racing, said: “John’s impressive racing pedigree and reputation is beyond question in the critical role of Team Principal. John will be joined by Graeme Lowdon as CEO who previously held the position of Director of Racing. He was one of the founders of the original Manor Grand Prix team and a key architect of its successful formation last year. Graeme has a proven track record with Manor Grand Prix and is a formidable operator with an excellent reputation in the sport. Their combined experience and expertise make them the ideal candidates to lead the Virgin Racing team as we head into an exciting first season.”
Etienne de Villiers continued: "These appointments reflect our long-term commitment to fully addressing the complexity and challenges of the new business and to creating a team with the appropriate skills and experience to ensure its sustainable success.”
“We knew this day was coming but we are still sorry to see Alex move on from his executive duties. He will continue in his role as Director of Special Projects for Virgin and will retain a close relationship with the team. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Alex for his support, energy and commitment from the outset and we look forward to his continued contribution to the business.”
Alex Tai commented: “Finding new opportunities and the challenge of starting new ventures is where my focus and interest lies. I am proud that we have taken the team from concept to reality in a short period of time and I am confident that Virgin Racing will be in trusted and experienced hands.”
Manor Grand Prix, one of the four new teams to compete in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship, was rebranded Virgin Racing in December 2009.
01/11/10 According to inside AutoRacing1.com sources, the Virgin F1 team has sacked their team principal, Alex Tai.
A former member of the RAF, Tai joined Richard Branson's Virgin Group empire in 1995, and was promoted to the position of CEO of the pioneering Virgin Galactic space flights division just under a decade later. His reputation within the aerospace industry precedes him, but, argue the naysayers, F1 is a very different world, and one requiring a very different set of skills. Be that as it may, he insisted he was ready for the task in-hand when he was announced by Richard Branson.
And so it is......he is now gone if our sources are correct.
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