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Friday press conference - British GP - Pt.1

Team personnel: John Booth (Virgin), Tony Fernandes (Team Lotus), Christian Horner (Red Bull), Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren), Frank Williams (Williams)

Press conference

Q:
Tony, a big weekend in that you are showing the colours of General Electric, which is a major sponsor on the car, and also Caterham as well. Tell us what sort of effect that is going to have on the team having that support.

Tony Fernandes:
Well, it is always useful to have a little bit of money. General Electric has been more than just on the sponsorship side obviously. They will do a lot on the technology side, so it has been a welcome addition to the team. Also, with Caterham, one of the principal reasons GE got involved was because of the car side and the production side in terms of electric cars and some of the things we are doing on the Caterham cars. It has been a fantastic symbiotic relationship we have put together. A big day for us.

Q:
Where do you believe this will this lead in future, in terms of looking towards next year?

Tony Fernandes:
What do you mean?

Q:
Well can this bring you into, certainly, the midfield?

Tony Fernandes:
Well, this year was always about trying to stay 10th and become a column one team. We are inching away slowly. I think by now we have all the facilities that we require. It's the first time that we have got a full CFD cluster. We have got now a fantastic facility with Williams, our second wind tunnel. So, by September, we will really be able to utilise much more wind tunnel time than we have ever had. We are in a position now to really start developing next year's car from as much of a level playing field with other teams than we have ever had. We will have to see, but it is our best shot. We always said two years, try and be 10th and then build from that.

Q:
And of course you are both going to be running the same engine in the future, with Williams also having the Renault engine.

Tony Fernandes:
Yep, the three of us here. Could be four if Martin's changing.

Q:
The Williams tie-up. Is that a year or so? How long is it for or is it quite a long-term arrangement?

Tony Fernandes:
It is for two years but we hope to use it for a long time. I learnt a lot from Frank and hopefully we can continue that relationship for a long, long time.

Q:
John, similarly, you have recently announced a tie-up with McLaren. Just give us the details of that?

John Booth:
Yes, obviously very excited to have a technical partnership with McLaren. It is a wonderful opportunity to tap into years and years of experience and knowledge and give us a real leg up as we look to develop our 2012 car.

Q:
How many people can you envisage actually working from McLaren, working with your team?

John Booth:
I don't think that is very clear at the moment. The deal was only finalised seven days ago. Although it is in operation as of now, I think it is an ongoing process working towards next year's car.

Q:
And you have also bought the Formula One business of WRT. What was the thinking behind that?

John Booth:
Well, Marussia became a stakeholder in Virgin Racing six months ago. They have led an overview of the team over those six months and we needed to take decisive steps to move forward. It was evident from the start of this year we weren't moving forward as quickly as we wanted to. In fact, arguably not at all performance wise, so we had to take steps to ensure the future of the team and put us on a positive footing. That's the result. We need to take control of our own destiny and we now have our own design team working on the car for next year.

Q:
I have seen the classified adds in Autosport this week. It is a double page of recruitment almost, but how quickly can you put it together?

John Booth:
The base of the team is together. We are carrying people forward with us from our existing programme. We have some fantastic people that have been with us from day one and we are carrying the majority of those forward with us and we are just adding as we go along. The process is underway for next year. Design has started, it's a good way down the line. It is just a matter of adding and building to that design team now.

Q:



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
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John Booth, Marussia Virgin Racing Sporting Director -
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