/ 15 November 2010

Branson to serve as AirAsia ‘stewardess’ after losing F1 bet

Lotus Formula One boss Tony Fernandes said Monday he will auction off seats on an AirAsia flight where Virgin boss Richard Branson will dress up as a flight attendant after losing a cross-dressing bet.

The two airline bosses placed a bet at the beginning of the 2010 Formula One championship, agreeing that the one whose Formula One team lost would serve as a “stewardess” on the winner’s airline.

Although both teams completed the season with zero points on Sunday, Lotus were placed ahead of Branson’s Virgin Racing in the rankings by virtue of their better race finishing positions.

“We have had this great bet running all season and now it’s time for Richard to start preparing himself for some hard work and the likely pain of a pair of high heels,” Fernandes said in a statement.

Fernandes is the principal of the new Malaysian-backed Lotus team and group chief executive of AirAsia, Southeast Asia’s biggest budget carrier.

He said he gave the British tycoon a red stewardess outfit when the duo met at the celebrations on track Sunday night and they agreed on how the bet would be settled.

They will run an online charity auction for the seats on a Kuala Lumpur-London flight, according to the AirAsia boss.

“The date of the flight will be announced very soon and the aim is to raise as much money as we can for a good cause so the discomfort Richard will go through is worth as much as it possibly can be,” said Fernandes.

Lotus and Virgin Racing were among four teams making their Formula One debuts this season. — Sapa-AFP