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Russian first for Midland team 17 Nov 2005

Midland owner Alex Shnaider collects his team's Russian race license from Russian Automobile Federation President Victor Kiryanov, November 17, 2005. © MF1 racing

Midland will become the first Russian team to compete in Formula One racing next season after acquiring their official license from the Russian Automobile Federation (RAF).

Under FIA regulations, any team competing in the world championship must be in possession of a license from a national motorsports authority, and Midland owner Alex Shnaider collected his team’s from RAF President, Victor Kiryanov, on Thursday.

“As a Russian-born person, I am extremely pleased that the team founded by Midland Group will compete in the Formula One World Championship with a Russian identity,” said Shnaider. “It has always been Midland's intention to enter F1 with a Russian license - an association which reflects this project's core targets and values - and I am very grateful to the RAF and Victor Kiryanov, President of the Federation, for their support.

“I believe that Midland Group's decision to enter its team under the Russian flag will push forward the development of Russia's motorsport and open new horizons for Russian racing drivers at the international level. MF1 Racing will make every effort toward achieving this goal and welcomes collaboration with the Russian authorities and Russian businesses in this challenging and extremely important undertaking.”

Bernie Ecclestone welcomed the move, saying: “I am very happy that we now have in Formula One a team with a Russian license. I am sure the MF1 Racing team will create interest not only in Russia but also worldwide. I wish Alex Shnaider and the team the best of luck and the support of a great nation.”

“Russian motor sport needs support from big business to develop and I am very happy that, thanks to Midland Group, our country will gain entry to the most important racing series on the planet,” added Kiryanov. “Getting a Russian team into F1 is a crucial step forward, both for Russian motorsport and for a nation that wishes to be seen as increasingly progressive in the modern world. I hope that some day, thanks to our joint efforts, Russian drivers will be racing and excelling in Formula One.”

At Midland’s launch in Moscow’s Red Square back in February, Shnaider announced that the new team, created following the group’s purchase of Jordan, would bring Russian style and technical know-how to the world of Formula One.