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Exclusive interview - MF1’s Johnny Herbert 15 Dec 2005

Johnny Herbert (GBR) Jordan Sporting Relations Manager.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 9 September 2005

The yellow of Jordan is no more. In its place, the steely silver and glowing red of MF1 Racing. The team’s new livery was among the most talked about topics at last week’s Jerez test, where we spoke with Johnny Herbert, MF1’s sporting relations manager, about the new dawn that has broken at the Silverstone-based squad.

Q: Some people in the paddock thought they had seen everything in terms of colour schemes for Formula One cars - that was until the new MF1 livery…
Johnny Herbert:
Yes, we have all put a lot of thought into our restructuring and the livery is another part of the importance that we have put into this new venture. Again we are trying to bring a lot of different cultures together and we have seen the talents at the IED (Istituto Europeo de Design - the design institute where the livery was created) in Milan and have used this creativity to push out into the international arena.

Q: MF1 Racing ran an unusually high number of drivers at the Jerez test last week. Was this part of the team’s plan?
JH:
We understand that we must try to bring as much talent into the sport and this is what was seen at the Jerez test. It gave all our drivers a great opportunity to experience an F1 car at a demanding circuit. Being under the Russian Flag, it was fantastic for the team to give Roman Rusinov, the first driver from Russia, a chance to have a test in an F1 car and he can use this experience to further his career. At the end what we wanted to see was talent that is able to handle an F1 car on track - and try to be the first to find the next Schumacher.

Q: Now that MF1 Racing has got its own identity, how would you describe your prospects for the coming 2006 season?
JH:
This will be our first year under MF1, and we want to continue the restructuring during this year and understand that it is not going to be easy, as only one team will win the constructors’ championship as well as the drivers’. We want to be more competitive in 2006 and the all new M16 car is the first step.

Q: Can you tell us anything about the M16? When will it hit the track for the first time?
JH:
The M16 will be a totally new car from the wheels to the engine, and we hope to see her on track at the end of Jan or early Feb 2006.

Q: Having a team running with a Russian license is quite a thrill - Bernie Ecclestone very much welcomed the move. How would you describe the overall feedback?
JH:
It's been very positive and we'll do the best job we can and I'm sure that this will turn around F1 viewing in Russia as they now have a team to support.

Q: With Christijan Albers already confirmed and Tiago Monteiro nominated for the second seat, you look set to have two young, fast drivers, albeit with only a season’s experience each. As an ex-driver yourself, are you satisfied with the selection?
JH:
We want to put out the best young drivers we can and this we seem to have in Christijan and soon we will have our second driver confirmed.

Q: What did the team learn from the Jerez test last week?
JH:
We collected a lot of data with both cars (V8 and V10). With all the drivers we again have a lot of driver data to go through and analyse and hope to use some of this for our development.