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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 09:08 GMT 10:08 UK
Russians plan new F1 team
Andrea de Cesaris drives a Dallara Ford in 1989
Dallara last raced in F1 in 1992
A Russian-backed consortium has revealed plans to create a new Formula One team for 2006.

The Guernsey-registered Midland Group has recruited Dallara to build a car for testing next year, though it has yet to sign an engine deal.

"We understand that basic survival in F1 requires a budget of around $100m (56m) per annum and we're prepared for that," said Midland boss Alex Shnaider.

Shnaider said the team were now recruiting a crew and that he believed a Russian driver was a possibility.

"Of course the team will have a Russian flavour and in time we hope to bring a Russian driver into Formula One," said Shnaider, a naturalised Canadian citizen born in St Petersburg.

Midland's upbeat annoucement comes at an difficult time for F1, with Ford-owned Jaguar and engine manufacturer Cosworth up for sale, and the Jordan and Minardi facing an uncertain future.

But Shnaider insisted the team, to be called Midland F1 and based "on the outskirts of London", had the cash to fund its big ambitions.

"I'm surprised that no one has realised that having a Formula One team is like getting an NBA or NHL franchise for free, as it is one of the world's most popular sports," he said.

"The opportunity to create value is immense and it stuns me that there are not more companies that have identified this opportunity just as we have."

He added: "Our research into coverage of different sports showed that only three events met our criteria for international exploitation: The Olympic Games, World Cup Soccer and Formula One.

First we have to do our homework - put a team together - then we can start thinking about winning
Midland chairman Alex Shnaider

"As the two others are quadrennial Formula One was the natural fit."

The last new team to enter F1 was Toyota in 2002 but it has yet to make an impact, currently lying eighth in the 10-team championship.

But Shnaider insisted Midland F1 could be competitive.

"Everybody wants to win. Midland F1 will be no exception to that.

"But first we have to do our homework - put a team together - the right people, a competitive car.

"Then we can start thinking about winning. But I can assure you winning will be on our agenda."

The announcement may have raised speculation Midland might make a bid for the doomed Jaguar team, but Shnaider appeared to rule that out.

"Midland's involvement is market-driven. And so is the determination to build a team from scratch as opposed to buying an existing one."

Italian manufacturer Dallara was founded in 1972 by Gian Paolo Dallara, a designer of Lamborghini and Maserati road cars.

It entered Formula One with the Ford-powered Scuderia Italia team in 1988 and stayed until 1992.

Dallara has since built cars for junior series and for the American Indy Racing League (IRL), winning the Indy 500 four times in the last six years.

Founded in 1994, Midland says it employs 50,000 people globally.

Its biggest recent project is a luxury hotel and residential complex in the business district of Toronto in association with the Trump Organisation.




SEE ALSO
Jaguar quits Formula One
17 Sep 04  |  Motorsport


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