Tom Walkinshaw Q&A

The announcement that Russia could have a Grand Prix by 2003 is the result of months of work by project instigator Tom Walkinshaw. Bernie Ecclestone joined the Arrows boss in Moscow this week, and confirmed that if Russia builds, F1 will come. The site is similar to Montreal in that it is a park on an island, and is reachable by both road and subway train. It is about 7kms from the Kremlin. While Bernie's announcement indicates that the project is serious, it's also worth remembering that a few years ago we were told that Korea would definitely host a GP in 1999, but Walkinshaw is confident that everything is on schedule. Adam Cooper spoke to the Scot about the Russian plans and the F1 season so far

Tom Walkinshaw Q&A



"We were asked to act as a consultant to the city of Moscow last year, when my company was doing other work over there. I informed Bernie of it and he told me to keep him informed. It was built up as a concept and the mayor of Moscow decided to progress with it. Bernie's been over now and seen the location, seen the plans, and approved them all. He's said when it gets built it will be awarded a Grand Prix. So it's very exciting."



"It's on an island on the river in the city of Moscow. It's a nice location, and it will be a good track. As I say Bernie's been involved in it all along, and I've progressed it for him. A lot of people have had a lot of input into it. It's nice when it all comes together, and you see the fruits of their labours."



"Sure, they raised the standards. We expect the design to be different obviously, because it's a different part of the world. But the design will be to the highest possible standards that it's possible to make it."



"There are a group of investors that are putting up the money. They're not all from Russia, there's a lot of money from outside. I don't think there's any issues on that front. It's a case of getting on with the work now."



"Judging by the amount of media interest there seems to be over there, there must be an enormous amount. Moscow is a huge city, it's got 10 million people in it. There's a lot of enthusiasm for the project, that's for sure."



"I don't know, I haven't asked them! But I think everyone will be. It's a big exciting city, and it's like any other capital in the world. There's a lot of energy in the place, and it will be an exciting new venue for everyone."



"If there's a Grand Prix, it obviously adds interest. So it will open up as a market I'm sure."



"We've had to make a lot of progress, which I haven't been happy with. The car started off, in my view, pretty uncompetitive. We've had to do a lot work to get it there, but now it's starting to get up the field. We're solidly in midfield, and I'm happy with that. But we should have had it much more competitive at the beginning of the season."



"It's always difficult setting up a new relationship, but the Asiatech people have done a good job so far. They've made the engine pretty reliable, which was the main concern. Now they've got the reliability under control, they're going to focus on the performance. We're looking forward to getting more powerful engines from them in a month's time I think. Will see how the relationship develops as the year goes on."



"Jos is doing fine. Enrique is doing a good job as well. He's a novice, but especially in qualifying he's been pretty strong. He needs to me a bit more aggressive at the beginning of the race. Other than that I think he's done an excellent job so far."



"It's never been easy, but there are a lot of cars in there that are very equally matched. Two or three tenths of a second can cost you seven or eight places on the grid. It just means you have to fight harder than ever."

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