Formula Onovich: Russian Grand Prix gears up again

Russia is back in the race for a grand prix, with the picturesque city of St. Petersburg being touted as the potential venue.

The venture had gotten what looked to be a decent rolling start several years ago with several promising leads. Bernie Ecclestone visited Russia a couple times with an eye towards getting a Russian Grand Prix off the ground in either Moscow or St. Petersburg. Russian businessman Alex Shnaider had brought Formula One to the capital when his Midland F1 team unveiled its car outside the Kremlin in 2005, and fellow businessman Alexander Berezhnoy had put forward a plan in 2001 to build a new circuit to be called the Pulkovo Ring near the St. Petersburg airport. Since then, however, the proposal seemed to have fallen by the wayside.

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The project may now be getting a second chance under the patronage of Russian Sports Minister Viatcheslav (Slava) Fetisov, a former hockey player with two Olympic gold medals and two Stanley Cup wins with the Red Wings to his name. President Vladimir Putin initially approved the plans for the Pulkovo Ring six years ago, and for his part, Bernie Ecclestone has been seeking out new markets in which to establish races and may have had Russia in mind when he alluded to new venues at the Abu Dhabi event. With the path cleared and the will to make it happen, all the involved parties need is a few Russian oligarchs to invest some funds in the project to make the Russian Grand Prix a reality.

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