Mike Stevens | Dec 1, 2009

MANOR GRAND PRIX is set to race under the Virgin Racing name next season, after the FIA released an amended entry sheet for the 2010 Formula 1 season.

Virgin has long been linked with an increased investment in F1 following the success of its race-by-race sponsorship deal with Brawn GP.

However, the team’s on-track success also priced Virgin out of contention for sponsorship, prompting company boss Sir Richard Branson to move and negotiate a naming rights deal with newcomers Manor.

Although Virgin is yet to declare it has secured a deal, the FIA’s announcement confirms the team’s identity for next year and the company’s extended involvement in Formula 1.

Another key talking point to emerge from the announcement of the 2010 entry list was the absence of Sauber, with the FIA refusing to hand over a 13th license until it finalises the situation with Toyota.

In a press release, the FIA said: “Toyota Motorsport GmbH remains formally bound by the Concorde Agreement to put forward a team for participation, though it has indicated that it will not be in a position to do so. An announcement will be made regarding this entry in due course.”

f1_manor-gpToyota are rumoured to be attempting to sell off its F1 operations after it was revealed the Japanese manufacturer would be forced to pay a $US150 ($AU164) million fine for breaching the Concorde Agreement.

Among the potential investors include unknown Serbian operation Stefan GP, which is keen to be based out of Belgrade and keen to become the first Eastern European team since Midland F1.

However, the FIA is believed to be keen to get Sauber back on board, given its previous impeccable track record in F1, but is unable to make any progress until reaching a settlement with Toyota.

Team boss Peter Sauber though is optimistic about his team's chances of returning to the F1 grid after securing an engine supply through Ferrari.

"It would have been a crying shame had one of the best Formula 1 factories closed down. Regarding the slot on the grid I am very confident that we will be given a final confirmation very shortly," he told the official F1 website.

"Having been able to proceed with uninterrupted development was also possible thanks to excellent cooperation with Ferrari, who submitted all the relevant data very early."

"Our 2010 car is perfectly on schedule. The development and fabrication have been unaffected by the situation.


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