Virgin Racing is launched – I told you so!

December 16, 2009

The original article in Management Focus, Spring 2009

Virgin Racing is actually one of the reasons I started this blog. Back in March 2009 I wrote a piece for the Cranfield School of Management magazine Management Focus (see above). It was at the time when rumours of a buyer for the Honda team were flying around with one possible contender being Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. It was then announced that Ross Brawn and his management group had bought the team, and there was a certain amount of speculation that Virgin had simply been exploiting the publicity opportunity. I, however, suggested otherwise and put forward the view that I felt the ‘new’ F1 with low budgets and a greater focus on alternative technologies and fuels could fit Virgin very well. So I wrote the piece in early March, but by the time it came out in April Virgin had announced their sponsorship of Brawn GP! It underlined the fact that in todays world, if you have something to say you need to get it out there quickly – I wonder if the academic journals will catch on to this idea?

So yesterday we saw the launch of Virgin Racing with an ambition to be the most successful low budget team. I wish them well, and it will also be very interesting to see whether the established teams are able to reduce down to the size of these new entrants over the next few years – the target is for them to downsize by around 66%. Organisation theory suggests it is far easier to start with a new ‘small’ business than to try and reduce an existing medium sized one. It will be very interesting to see how this works out, and I’ll do my best to keep my blog up to date on the subject.

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