AUGUST 27, 2004

Who is behind the Dallara F1 project?

The word on the street in F1 circles is that the new Dallara F1 car may have been commissioned by one of the Russian oligarchs. It is not yet clear which one of the billionaire businessmen is involved but the obvious suggestions would be Chelsea Football Club's Roman Abramovich and Nikolai Smolenski, the 24-year-old who recently bought TVR. Our sources however say that neither is involved and that the project is headed one of the barons from the metal industry.

There are a number of likely candidates for such a project including 37-year-old Alexei Mordashov, the chairman of the steel company Severstal. He is much more international than some of the other oligarchs having studied for an MBA at Northumbria University in England). He is fluent in English and in German. He is also keen to promote the Russian car industry.

The other man who might be involved is Oleg Deripaska, the head of RusAl, the world's second-largest aluminum producer. Deripaska owns 75% of the firm and is also owner of Russia's largest car manufacturer.