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I think CFD alone isn't the way to go. But we can't forget that Virgin isn't spending as much as Lotus is either, and Richard Branson is pinching pennies. F1 is just a token asset for him.
CFD was working in sportscar because those teams bathed Nick with cash and he could use all his resources. And of course in sportscars testing is unrestricted so it took the place of the wind tunnel.
Honda especially was one cool customer that paid him well. His personnel is even embedded in all the lemans honda teams. Is he wrong to follow the money trail...?
He probably accepted the F1 gig for a next to nothing just to raise his firm's profile.