Oct 18, 2004
F1 Gets New BloodBy JR Nerad
Ford Motor Company is one of the largest industrial companies in the world, but it couldn't make it the dog-eat-dog world of Formula One racing. A couple of weeks ago it pulled Jaguar out of F1 racing, its tail between its legs, after suffering yet another in a series of going-nowhere seasons. But, to give more credence to the "greater fools" theory, while Ford/Jaguar was bailing out, a company called Midland Group was jumping in. The privately owned international trading and investment-holding organization announced the creation of a new team to be known as Midland F1, and it will make its debut at the 2006 Australian Grand Prix.
"For a global acting business conglomerate the search for a global communication platform is natural," said Midland's 36-year-old co-founder and chairman Alexander Shnaider. "Our research into coverage of different sports showed that only three events met our criteria for international exploitation: The Olympic Games, World Cup Soccer and Formula One. As the two others are quadrennial, Formula One was the natural fit. Midland's involvement is market driven. And so is the determination to build a team from scratch as opposed to buying an existing one. Midland Group is an investment company, and by creating a new team we are creating value."
Just ask Ford about that. But aren't we cynical?
"Midland is prepared to fund the development of the team entirely, but our unique position will help us attract sponsors," Shnaider said.
Wisely, the Russian-born Canadian businessman has already held extensive talks with Formula One honcho Bernie Ecclestone, and said he received Ecclestone's full support of his plans, which is not unlike Michael Jackson giving full support to the creation of a kids' playground in his neighborhood.
So it goes. One team leaves F1 and another enters. Will Midland succeed where Jaguar failed? Time will tell. But it will certainly be fun to watch Mr. Shnaider's progress.
More Racing Raps
Email Your Host
Get in touch with your host, Jack Nerad, the head honcho of Driving Today.Go>>