End of the F1 journey for team Marussia and Booth

Marussia team principal, John Booth
Marussia team principal, John Booth
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The Formula 1 dream appears to be over for the son of a Rotherham butcher.

John Booth, who launched his first team in motor sport from his own garage in Rotherham in 1990, was team principal of the Marussia F1 team which officially went out of business yesterday.

The Banbury-based marque –which originated in Dinnington – was placed in administration on October 27 and despite stringent efforts over the last few days to find a buyer and keep the team afloat, they have ultimately come to nothing. The team ceased trading yesterday, meaning the loss of 200 jobs.

Geoff Rowley, joint administrator at FRP Advisory, said: “It goes without saying that it’s deeply regrettable that a business with such a great following in Britain and worldwide has had to cease trading and close its doors

“Whilst the team made significant progress during its relatively short period of operation, operating a F1 team requires significant ongoing investment.

“The group was put into administration last month following a shortfall in on-going funding and the administration process provided a moratorium to allow for attempts to secure a long-term viable solution for the company within a very limited timeframe.

“Sadly no solution could be achieved to allow for the business to continue in its current form.

“We would like to thank all the staff for their support during this difficult process.

“As joint administrators our immediate focus will be to assist staff who have lost their jobs and provide them with the necessary support to submit timely claims to the Redundancy Payments Service.

“The team will not be participating in the two further rounds of the 2014 championship in Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi.

“The joint administrators will continue with their statutory duties to realise the assets of the business in the best interests of all the creditors.”

Talks had taken place with numerous investors from Asia, the United States and central Europe, with two of a more serious nature.

But without a cost cap in place, FRP were unable to finalise a deal.

It brings to an end nearly five years in the fast lane for Booth.

He entered his own Manor Grand Prix team in June 2009, encouraged by the promise of a budget cap of £40m, one that never materialised.

Ever since their first race in Bahrain in 2010 – even aided by the financial clout of firstly Virgin and then Russian motor sports manufacturer Marussia – they have been battling massive economic odds.

That fight became even more intense this year due to the sport’s move to a hybrid formula, which meant an expensive switch to entirely new engines. It proved the death knell for Marussia, while Caterham have also been plunged towards the brink.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post earlier this week, Booth said: “We’ve been fighting against rising costs for five years really – it just got tougher the last six months.

“The big problems came with the introduction of the new engines and then Andrey Cheglakov (Marussia’s benefactor) found it more and more difficult to keep funding the team.”

Despite the rising costs, Booth’s team were enjoying their best year on the grid having earned a ninth-place finish and two points at the Monaco Grand Prix in May.

That unlocked a massive windfall of $45m of funding for next year as opposed to the $6m they traditionally had to manage with.

“It’s the kind of money we’ve been dreaming of since day one and it’s ironic that we won’t be able to take advantage of it,” lamented Booth.

“We’ve built a great car this year, even though we have not been able to develop it for obvious reasons.

“That’s the disappointing thing, we have made the significant step forward this year that we have so desperately been trying to achieve.”

Even though his team had moved to Oxfordshire from their Dinnington base, they have retained their premises in the South Yorkshire village.

The administrators at Caterham have launched a crowd-funding project in a bid to get the cash-strapped team on the grid for the final race in Abu Dhabi.

London-based accountancy firm Smith & Williamson is looking to raise £2.35m from fans around the world to enable Caterham to take part in the season-ending race. A statement read: “We are working non-stop to get the team back racing, initially in Abu Dhabi.”