Virgin unhappy with Ecclestone comments
19 August, 2010
Aug.19 (GMM) John Booth has admitted he was “not particularly pleased” when he heard Bernie Ecclestone predict that two of F1′s struggling teams might fold before the end of the season.
The F1 chief executive said in July that the two teams in question “really shouldn’t be there” and that he would be happy if the grid dropped to just 20 cars.
When asked about his initial reaction to Ecclestone’s comments, Virgin team boss Booth admitted: “I was not particularly pleased, because comments like that for a team like ours can do great damage.
“It is difficult for us at the moment — as it is for other teams, and for all the new teams,” he said in an interview with motorsport-total.com.
Booth said comments like Ecclestone’s can be “destabilising”, but expressed relief that most of Virgin’s sponsors are committed for the long term.
It is believed that each new team was promised 10 million euros by Ecclestone for entering the sport in 2010, meaning that if Virgin or HRT were to fail, the sport’s commercial pot would be correspondingly bigger.
“Yes. Something like that,” confirmed Booth.
Some of the general negativity about the team’s effort so far might be disappointment that the world-renowned brand – headed by high profile billionaire Sir Richard Branson – has failed to live up to Virgin’s image.
Booth responded: “If you look at what we have built up so far, it’s not all bad. In formula one there have been probably 30 or 40 new teams, some of which never qualified for a race. But we are there at the start of every race and, step by step, we are getting closer.”
“We are where we expected we would be, and maybe even a bit further ahead than that,” Booth insisted.