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OCTOBER 17, 2003

Dreaming in Moscow

The Moscow City Government is still dreaming about hosting a Formula 1 race - but clearly does not understand how the sport works.

Moscow's first deputy mayor Valery Shantsev told the Reuters agency that the city is planning to build an F1 specification circuit in the next couple of years and said that negotiations last year broke down because Bernie Ecclestone had made "unreasonable demands". These do not appear to be very different from the normal demands of the F1 boss when he negotiates a new race deal.

The Deputy Mayor added that talks were going on from time to time about the future.

"We haven't broken our dealings with Ecclestone completely and negotiations are still going on and I am sure that sooner or later he will come to us."

What the Russians seem to fail to understand is that there is no need for F1 to be in Moscow and that there is an ongoing programme in St Petersburg as well and although the 150m population of Russia is of interest to the sport, the desire to have a race in Russia is not in the same league as interest in China (1.3bn), India (1bn) or developing the sport in the United States (270m).