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GP Week : Issue 53
>>F1 INSIGHT Joint venture: Former Simtek boss Nick Wirth, far left, will play a big role in Manor’s F1 outfit; while current BrawnGP sponsor Virgin has been heavily linked to the team commercially. hundred million then it would be impossible, but looking for 30 or 40 million is easier because Formula 1 still has a massive worldwide appeal.” John insists that, for now, the most important thing for him and his team is to earn the respect of the Formula 1 fraternity. With regard to the Concorde Agreement he says that “hopefully we will sign up at some point. Our long term objective is to earn respect in Formula 1 and join equally with the other teams.” His opinions about FOTA and the prospect of becoming a member are similar. “We have no relationship with FOTA as of now. There’s certainly no antagonism or hostility there, that’s for sure. But eventually we would like to be part of it. But certainly I think we need to earn our place and are not just given it.” So concentrated is John on getting his team up and running and making sure that they are taken seriously that he insists he hasn’t even thought about his driver line- up. But with an old-boys list that reads like a Who’s Who of modern F1 greats, he allows himself to dream for a while. “Of course we ran Kimi and Lewis … and we ran Robert as well so that would be a dream team wouldn’t it! But to be honest we haven’t even discussed drivers yet. We’ve briefly touched on it but we have other things we need to put in place before we start thinking seriously about drivers. “I think an experienced driver and a youngster would be a pretty sound plan, although we haven’t discussed it.” From Formula Renault to Formula 1 in the space of 20 years is no mean feat. John Booth is well aware of the challenges that lie ahead for him, his new partner Nick Wirth and for everyone at Manor Grand Prix, but he’s excited about it, too: “We’re just getting geared up. It’s such a massive project. We’re not trying to build a McLaren or a Ferrari in terms of their infrastructure, employing upwards of 500 staff. We’re far from that. “All I hope is that in our first year we achieve reliability, credibility and some respect from the more established teams. We want to be competitive. By 2012 we want to be on a level playing field and competing. “When I first started Manor you couldn’t even say Formula 1 was a dream because it was so out of reach. This is just beyond all expectations.” 33