Moscow looks elsewhere

It is official! The Nagatino Island Formula 1 race track project is off. Speaking at a press conference last week Moscow's deputy-mayor Iosif Ordzhonikidze said that the city had not given up on the plans to hold a Grand Prix in the city but he confirmed that the Nagatino Island plan, which involved the TWR Group in Britain, is not going to happen. The reason for this is that it would have cost the city government too much money. Nagatino Island will now be developed for residential housing.

The project has been dogged by rumors and scandals since the start. Just four days after he signed the original contract with TWR, Ordzhonikidze was gunned down in Moscow and seriously injured. The Moscow police said that they believed that the shooting had been caused by the F1 project. Despite this, five months later Bernie Ecclestone went to Moscow and agreed in principle for their to be a race in Moscow but then nothing happened. In March Ecclestone went back to Russia to sign a deal but things went wrong and the signing was delayed. In May the race was delayed indefinitely. A month later Ordzhonikidze was the victim of a second assassination attempt but escaped unhurt after a gun battle between his bodyguards and his attackers.

Two weeks ago Ecclestone went back to Moscow to try to understand what was going on. He was told that the deal was off and so went off to St. Petersburg to look at another possible site for a Russian GP.

Ordzhonikidze says that although the Nagatino deal is off Moscow still wants a race. The question is whether F1 wants to continue dealing with the Russians.

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