Fernandes, Branson accept cross-dressing bet

KUALA LUMPUR: Lotus F1 boss Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes yesterday accepted a challenge from Sir Richard Branson that the loser of their two Formula One teams will dress up as a flight attendant on the winner’s airline.

“Bring it on,” said a statement on the friendly bet from Fernandes, the principal of the new Malaysian-backed Lotus team and group chief executive of AirAsia, Southeast Asia’s biggest budget carrier.

Lotus and Manor GP, to be rebranded Virgin Racing following this week’s announcement of a sponsorship deal with Branson’s business empire, are among four new teams that will compete in the 2010 Formula One season.

Fernandes has said recently that the Lotus team’s only goal in the forthcoming season was to beat Virgin Racing otherwise he would “retire or kill himself,” according to the statement.

In response, the British businessman reportedly said this week that Fernandes could work as a Virgin flight attendant should Virgin Racing finish ahead of the Lotus team.

Fernandes reciprocated, saying “our guests will be delighted to be served by a Knight of the Realm.” His statement included a mockup photograph of Branson in the red outfit of an AirAsia flight attendant. — AFP

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