John Booth: “The past few days have been extremely difficult”

John Booth has admitted his pride about the way the Manor F1 Team have gone about their jobs in the past week leading up to the Hungarian Grand Prix following the heartbreaking news of the passing of Jules Bianchi last Friday.

The Team Principal spoke about the happy memories the team have of the popular Frenchman, who sadly lost his fight for life due to the injuries caused in his horror crash during the Japanese Grand Prix last year, recalling how Bianchi managed to make it through into the second part of qualifying at the Hungaroring a year ago at the expense of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari.

“The past few days have been extremely difficult for our team members, but I am very proud of the way everyone has balanced the enormous sense of loss with the focus required for the start of a Grand Prix weekend,” insisted Booth.

“As sad a time as this is for all of us, we have countless happy memories of Jules and remembering those incredible times we shared together is helping us through.

“One such happy memory is in fact from here at the Hungaroring last year, where Jules had a fantastic qualifying session with an incredible lap securing Q2 contention and an eighth place grid slot.”

Booth has praised his drivers for their efforts during the two Friday practice sessions in Hungary, feeling the team have a good baseline to work with for the rest of the weekend. Fabio Leimer was handed his first opportunity to run during FP1 alongside Will Stevens, while Roberto Merhi returned to the car in FP2.

“As for this weekend, credit to Roberto, Will and Fabio for two very positive sessions, which have created a solid baseline from which I am sure we can make good progress,” said Booth.