John Booth returns to Formula One paddock in Toro Rosso role

Formula One F1 Grand Prix Alonso Raikkonen Vettel

John Booth, the former team principal at Manor and one of the most popular and recognisable figures in Formula One in recent years, is to return to the paddock as director of racing for Toro Rosso.

Booth takes up his new role with immediate effect and will be wearing Toro Rosso colours in Sochi for this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix. For the 61-year-old Yorkshireman the move is more than merely a return to the sport. It represents the opportunity to work alongside two of the most exciting young drivers in the sport in Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz. There have been times this season when the Toro Rosso cars have been faster than the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat in the “senior team”.

Booth is a friend of the Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost, who said: “I have known John for many years and I am delighted to welcome him to the team.

“Formula One is becoming ever more complex, with recent changes on the tyre front, car setup, radio communications and so forth. Therefore, having a competitive car and talented drivers, both of which we have, on its own is not enough. With his vast experience I am sure John will help the team raise its game and become a more effective force over a race weekend.”

Booth left Manor at the end of last season, after six years with the team. He and the team’s former sporting director, Graeme Lowdon, could not agree on a way forward for with the new owner, Stephen Fitzpatrick. Since then Booth and Lowdon have been reunited, working with the Manor Endurance Racing team in the World Endurance Championship.

But Booth will continue in his old role. His new job with Toro Rosso has been taken on a consultancy basis, though given the particular demands of Formula One that could change in time.

“It’s a great honour to join such a well-established and competitive team as Scuderia Toro Rosso” said Booth. “It is a team that has achieved so much in a relatively short space of time. I am looking forward to getting started and working with Franz and the team this weekend in Sochi.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Paul Weaver, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 26th April 2016 17.10 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010