Branson eyeing possibility of buying Honda's F1 team

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

Virgin may be ready to take over F1 team Honda but only if the sport is ready to make some serious changes, boss Richard Branson said yesterday.

The British tycoon told BBC radio that although he loves Formula One, a lack of environmentally friendly technology and the high running costs could keep Virgin from entering the sport.

"Formula One should be championing new, cleaner technology and if we were to get involved we want to be sure that we could run our cars in a very short period of time on clean fuels, which would set an example to normal cars on the road," Branson said.

Honda pulled out of F1 in December because of the high cost of running the team amid the global economic downturn. It is in negotiations with several potential buyers to sell the team in time for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 29, with Virgin reportedly one of the interested parties.

Branson would not confirm whether Virgin had entered into negotiations, but did lay out conditions.

"I think they need to organize Formula One so that the teams can actually make money instead of losing a lot of money, especially the smaller teams," Branson said.

"(F1 boss) Bernie Ecclestone recognizes that."

- The Associated Press

Christopher wins 400

BIRMINGHAM, England -- Tyler Christopher of Chilliwack, B.C., sprinted to victory in the men's 400 metres at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham, England, yesterday, recording the second fastest time in the world this season.

Christopher, the defending world indoor champion, ran 46.08 seconds to win at the National Indoor Arena, passing Britain's Richard Buck with 10 metres to go. Buck was second in 46.22, while Sweden's Johan Wissman, the runner-up at the world championships, was third in 46.39.

Christopher's time was just off the world-leading mark of 46.03 that Claudio Licciardello recorded at the Italian championships yesterday.

Christopher, 25, ran a Canadian indoor record of 45.67 in winning the world championships in Valencia, Spain last March.

Armstrong in support

Rinaldo Nocentini of Italy lunged ahead of New Zealand's Hayden Roulston at the finish line to win Stage 7 of the Tour of California yesterday.

American Levi Leipheimer of Astana retained his overall lead after the 143-km leg from Santa Clarita to Pasadena's historic Rose Bowl stadium.

Nocentini of AG2R La Mondiale won by less than a bike length, finishing in three hours 24.44 seconds. Rabobank's Pieter Weening of the Netherlands was third in the three-man sprint to the finish.

Lance Armstrong, who began a comeback last month, wasn't among the stage leaders as he rode in support of Leipheimer, his Astana teammate. But the seven-time Tour de France winner remained sixth overall.

Rugby coach quits

Quentin Fyffe has stepped down as head coach of the Canadian senior women's rugby team.

He cited increased time commitments at his full-time job away from the game for the decision, Rugby Canada said in a release Friday. Assistant John Long will take over as head coach and Fyffe will continue to do video work and attend camps when available.

Jazz honour owner

The Utah Jazz honoured team owner Larry H. Miller with a moment of silence before their game against New Orleans yesterday, a day after Miller's death.

The Jazz showed a brief video tribute as a lone spotlight shone down on Miller's empty courtside seat.

The players also debuted patches that will be part of the uniform for the rest of the season. The patch is the original team logo, a purple music note with gold and green trim and the initials "LHM" in white at the top.

Miller died Friday of complications from diabetes. He was 64.

Jones leads ACE

Gene Jones shot a 70 yesterday to take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the ACE Group Classic in Naples, Fla.

Jones, looking for his first Champions Tour victory, made a 15-footer for birdie to get to 4-under 140 at TPC Treviso Bay.

"I rolled that baby right in, and it felt great, to be honest with you," he said. "It was a good way to end the day."

- Sun Media News Services


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