Changes at Marussia Virgin

The Marussia Virgin team has made a number of changes in the management structure with Nikolay Fomenko, President of Marussia Motors, becoming the team’s engineering director, in order to provide overall leadership for the team’s technology programmes, covering race car development, engineering and collaboration with the Marussia’s road car programme.

The return of Ian Phillips. © Sutton.
Marussia’s UK managing director, Andy Webb, becomes the chief executive officer of the team, focussing on the management of the business side of the operation, while Graeme Lowdon, the current CEO, become the team president, which will give him more time to deal with the wider role of the team’s role within the sport, dealing with the F1 Commission and the FOTA Executive. Lowdon will also be the team’s sporting director. Virgin has added highly experienced F1 man Ian Phillips to the line-up as chief operations officer. Phillips has been in F1 since the late 1980s with March Racing, Leyton House and later Jordan and Force India.

John Booth continues in his role as Team Principal and Director of Racing and Nick Wirth remains in his role as technical director.

It should also be noted that there has been a change in the board of the company with Darryl Eales becoming chairman in place of Etienne de Villiers. Eales is CEO of Lloyds Development Capital (LDC), one of the team’s shareholders.

“The Board of Directors has reviewed and examined all aspects of the team’s commercial and racing operations during its debut F1 season in order to ascertain what is required to move the team forward quickly and prudently,” Eales says. “The changes announced today, together with Marussia’s wealth of knowledge and experience, provide us with a solid foundation as we enter our second season. I believe we are very fortunate to have such depth of commercial and racing leadership as we embark on the next step in our ambitious plans for the team.
“Moreover, Marussia’s firm commitment will continue to enable us to put in place the right people, resources and infrastructure to ensure the team advances significantly over the next two seasons and beyond. I have no doubt the team can look forward to exciting and rewarding times ahead.”

It is also worth noting that the team will have some support from the Quick Hamburger company, as has been speculated. This is believed to be linked to Jerome d’Ambrosio.

26 thoughts on “Changes at Marussia Virgin

  1. Nice to see Ian Phillips back in F1. There’ll be a lot of politics to sort out with all those executives appointed, but Ian’s presence and experience will be a calming force. Fingers crossed their car works this year…

  2. Fomenko – now i know where i saw his face before!

    So, we have a racer and an actor, running the sharp end of a F1 team.

    (there’s a Back To The Future reference in there, think about The Gipper, but in the spirit of the day i shall allude no further)

    Makes plenty sense to me. Interviews are going to be very interesting!

    – j

  3. What does Nikolay Fomenko have on his CV to make him suitable for a role as engineering director of an F1 Team? I am not arguing that he is unsuitable, I just know nothing about the man.

  4. Yay, Ian Phillips is back! Here’s hoping that he gets an opportunity to spend some time in the 5 Live commentary booth.

    Also, I wonder how the new “Engineering Director” role affects Nick Wirth’s responsibilities as Technical Director.

  5. The return of Ian Phillips is excellent news not only for Virgin but for F1 as a whole. While we might not hear as much from Ian as we used to, he is a wise, experienced, sensible gentleman and we need more people like that in F1.

  6. I was wondering where my sense of deja vu was coming from with all these chief this, head of that, director of the other thing, to say nothing of the two or three dozen third drivers Renault seems to have collected somewhere…

    And then I remembered — Hitchhiker’s Guide — the “Ark” carrying the detritus of society from Golgafrincham to what would become Earth. I’m sure I remember third drivers and Special Executive Directorial Cosmetic Managers of Sponsorship Engineering in there among the management consultants and telephone sanitisers…

  7. Marussia seem to have people in powerful positions in the team now. I wonder if Mr Branson is setting up a sale to cash in.

  8. What is nikolai fomenkos background other than tv host and driver? What qualifies him (other than his chequebook To be engineering director?

    Great move to bring Ian phillips onboard though.

  9. Joe, help me out, I can’t see any transporter for Virgin in the paddock, how did they get the car here ? Was it on a trailer ?

  10. Quick would be better advised to spend the money improving their menu. There’s something a bit NQR about their food… The underlying concept of a French McD’s style knock-off is a bit suspect.

    On the topic of burger chains, how come no-one has ever managed to lure McD’s into F1? A global sport which millions of people watch on TV from the comfort of their sofas: sounds like an ideal snacking demographic if ever there was one…

  11. Henry,

    I think this is part titular, part the guy who started Marussia knows where the money can spill out too freely. Not to mention, being an actor, it’s just another role. (get here, decent keyboard, i need a circumflex!)

    Titles are often dangerous things. Banks have an infinite supply of “Managing Directors”. I cut my teeth on a sales floor, where titles were used and abused according to whoever was the person they were trying to call. Confused the hell out of the mail boys. It gets even sillier in Latin countries.

    All I know, is the guy can actually sing.

    Is that not adequate for F1? 🙂

    All I know is that Fomenko negotiated his career out of the burning pyre and mantrap which was MOSFILM.* That’s rather like Hollywierd heroes not looking back at the big explosion.

    That’s a relevant qualfication.

    Joe, this is a guy to track down in person!

    – john

    *I am totally forgetting the general arts umbrella which my late partner dealt with, in perpetual mutual frustration. But Iron Grip, would be a adequate description.

  12. Why so many chiefs?

    My guess is:

    Chief = Paddock Pass

    Ever heard the story about Flavs attempt at getting some sponsors to sign up to his team not knowing who they were or where they came from?

  13. RobbieMeister,

    What you said about Flav is a daily occurence in adland.

    More i think about Flav, more i know why i struck off in a different direction. Helluva salesman, not much else.

    – john

  14. RobbieMeister,

    sorry so late to reply.

    I think i have done something similar once. I’ve been rather careful since then. My excuse was being too young to mess anything up which mattered.

    You get this thing, where you go on and on, not meaning to, because you get full of yourself. Please laugh with me!

    I’ve been lucky, with friends who either were sensibly critical, or just so way above me it isn’t the done thing to rant on in their presence.

    I’ve also picked up, because of being a gobby sh**e some less clemant friends. I’ll make the introductions, if you could work out how to annoy me enough! 🙂

    So, I have a begrudging respect for one aspect of Flav’s abilities. Damned pity about the rest. Who the F else, uses a tragic accident, to get their name mentioned, and has the connexions to get that front page of a once respected journal of record?

    As for the marketing people: How hard is it to ask for the deal?

    That may stem from someone we know about having too much control, for non business reasons.


    – john

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