Booth on Virgin's blossoming F1 future
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Booth on Virgin's blossoming F1 future

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There is lot happening at Virgin right now: a factory move; a massive car upgrade and the integration of McLaren's technical assistance. Team prinicipal John Booth rings the changes in this exclusive interview and details his hopes for climbing the grid in 2012

Virgin Racing had some tough decisions to make this year in the wake of a disappointing start to the campaign, where its car had not delivered the step forward in form that everyone within the outfit had hoped for.

Its struggles culminated in the decision to make a pretty major overhaul of its design structure - with technical chief Nick Wirth leaving the operation and the team putting in place a partnership with McLaren.

Although the moves have come too late to make much change to its on-track form this year, the ball has started rolling to get things in place for 2012 - with technical consultant Pat Symonds taking on increased responsibilities to make sure the right steps are taken.

AUTOSPORT caught up with Virgin Racing's team principal John Booth to find out what has happened since its technical plans were revealed in June, how plans are progressing for a factory switch and just what impact the McLaren tie-up is having.

Q. You announced earlier this year a technical reshuffle and a new partnership with McLaren. How have things progressed since then?

John Booth: Things have been pretty hectic. As you can imagine, first of all we had to make a decision about where we were going to base ourselves. We took the decision for it to be Banbury for the forthcoming years. It was not up to spec as a Formula 1 facility, so we had to get the architects in and get ready to accept the race team, and update our new facility.

But it was the obvious thing to do as we could keep our design team running without any interruption. The design team have got a nice new office down there; all the CAD stations are there, so it has been good to keep them running totally uninterrupted at a critical time. So we have designed the rest of the factory around them.

Q. When was the decision taken to do things like that?

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