MF1 want to bring Russian space experts
|By Alan Baldwin
||Friday, February 3rd 2006, 13:43 GMT
Formula One's first Russian team are looking to the country's space and aviation experts for a competitive edge.
"It is very exciting. It was our plan from day one to have a Russian team in Formula One and we have executed our plan," said Russian-born billionaire Alex Shnaider after Midland unveiled their first car on Friday.
"Now we just have to do better than we did last year," the team owner, who bought struggling Jordan in January 2005, told Reuters.
Jordan had only Minardi behind them in the final 2005 standings.
"We are very actively looking now for aerodynamicists and engineers in Russia, to hire and to bring here to help with the team and bring new ideas," added the naturalised Canadian.
"There are a lot of very good specialists in Russia, aircraft designers."
Shnaider's Midland Group is involved in heavy industry throughout the former Soviet bloc and had planned to start their own team from scratch before Jordan became available.
He said the team's factory would remain at the Silverstone circuit.
"We have no plans to have a design team anywhere else. If we hire people in Russia, we would get them visas and bring them to work here," he said.
Midland have Roman Rusinov as one of four test drivers and have a long-term plan to put a Russian on the starting grid for the first time.
"It will probably take a few years," said Shnaider. "We are looking also at other young drivers. Obviously he has to be as good as the other drivers but I think there is enough talent in Russia."
The Toyota-powered M16 car, decked out in orange, white and grey livery, lacks Russian sponsors but Shnaider was confident they would come too.
"It will pick up," he said. "Formula One is still new to Russian companies, but with time they will learn and now there is a Russian-licensed team it will bring up the interest."
A Russian race would also help and the team owner, who was born in St Petersburg before emigrating as a child to Israel and then Canada, said that was likely in the near future.
"The way I understand it, there will be a race eventually. I think within five years it should happen, in Moscow," he said.