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Russian carmaker seals F1 deal with Virgin

Nikolay Fomenko of Morussia Motorsport announces the deal at a press conference in Abu Dhabi.
Nikolay Fomenko of Morussia Motorsport announces the deal at a press conference in Abu Dhabi.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Marussia Motors has bought a significant shareholding in the Formula One team Virgin Racing
  • The team will be known as Marussia Virgin Racing from 2011 onwards
  • Their car for the new season is set to be unveiled in Moscow

(CNN) -- Russian carmaker Marussia Motors has bought a significant shareholding in the Formula One team Virgin Racing, meaning the team will be renamed "Marussia Virgin Racing" for the 2011 season.

The rookie team -- who made their Formula One debut this season -- will continue their relationship with Richard Branson, the British businessman whose company created Virgin Racing by signing a sponsorship deal with Manor Motorsport in 2009.

The rebranded outfit's car for the 2011 season will be unveiled in Moscow ahead of next season, and Virgin's chief executive Graeme Lowdon hailed the deal as good news for his team and for the sport.

"This announcement cements our place on the Formula One grid and is testimony to the hard work and dedication of every single member of our team," Lowdon told the team's official website.

This is definitely a good news story for Virgin Racing and for Formula One
--Graeme Lowdon
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Marussia Motors was founded in 2007, and the super car manufacturer -- which has worked as a partner to Virgin during its inaugural season -- hopes the move will help build its reputation.

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"This is the realization of a dream for us", said Nikolay Fomenko of Marussia -- who is also a former racing driver -- on the company's website.

"[We will] demonstrate to the world that a new car manufacturer has arrived from Russia with truly international ambitions."

This news comes as a further boost to Formula One in Russia, after last month's announcement that the Black Sea resort of Sochi will host a grand prix from 2014 onwards.

Vitaly Petrov, Russia's first ever Formula One driver, has also made a decent impact in his first season in the sport, accruing 19 points so far this year for his Renault team.

Virgin are yet to pick up a drivers' or constructors' point in 2010, with only this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix remaining in the calendar.