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MAY 12, 2001

Walkinshaw confident for 2003 Moscow date

ARROWS and TWR chairman Tom Walkinshaw is confident that a Russian Grand Prix will be in the 2003 world championship as construction work on a new circuit in Moscow gets into full swing.

Walkinshaw signed a deal with Moscow officials last year to build the circuit and after Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone supported the project on Friday, Walkinshaw is confident the work will take just two years to complete.

"It may take a couple of years to do it so we shall have to see how it progresses but it will be 2003 at the earliest," Walkinshaw said. "There has been lots of planning already and it's not that far away.

"I am fairly confident it should be capable of being ready in 2003 but it tends to get a bit cold in the winter so it depends."

The circuit is being constructed on Nagatino island in the south of the city and the layout of the track will be finalized next month and Walkinshaw described the project as "similar" to Montreal.

And Walkinshaw revealed that the circuit has full financial backing of the city and added that a group of investors have put together a package to fund the construction of the track.

"It's an island that's on the Moscow river, the one that goes from the Kremlin and it will be a permanent track on the island," he added. "It's right in the heart of the city so it's a super location, similar in concept to Montreal.

"TWR was originally asked by the city of Moscow to look at the concept and see if the island was suitable for the track and we will probably oversee the development of the island.

"There is a dozen people working to date and have also got to make sure we are up to the latest standards with the FIA. The final layouts will be ready in the next four to five weeks.

"It is a big project and it's a very substantial sum of money but there has been a very large group of investors been put together to actually fund the whole project."