Formula One in Moscow
Text and photos Jeff Kershaw
The acrid smells of tire smoke and racing fuel, the eyecatching sights of beautiful cars and beautiful people and the pulse quickening scream of engines revving to 18,000 rpm. It must be Formula One. A single Formula One race attracts a viewing audience of over 600 million people worldwide. Attendance at the race in Monaco could cost between 2,000 and 12,000 Euros.
On one Sunday in July for the past two years, Bavaria City Racing has brought a taste of Formula One to the Russian Capital and promises to do so for at least the next three years. Bavaria Moscow City Racing is an event where F1 fans and newcomers alike can get a feel for the excitement that is Formula One racing. The event is sponsored by Bavaria brewing as well as British Petroleum, Oris, Ritz Carlton, Samsung and others.
This is an event or exhibition, rather than a show, but seeing and hearing Formula One cars speeding around a 4.5km course in the very heart of Moscow is exciting to say the least. The course encircles the Kremlin, beginning at Vasilevsky Spusk with a tire smoked filled turn around Menezhnaya Square before heading back to the start/finish lane at Vasilevsky Spusk. The sight of Formula One racers up against a background of St. Basils Cathedral and Red Square was one not to be missed.
This year’s event took place on the 19th of July. Three race teams were represented, Red Bull Racing (David Coultard), AT&T Williams (Kazuki Nakajima) and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes (Heikki Kovalainen). In addition to all the Formula One excitement, Moscow City Racing also features the famous Kamaz Master off road team, Moscow Drifters, Cabriolet Life and Supercars.ru. Kamaz Master has represented Russia in world famous events such as Paris-Dakar, Desert Challenge and others.
There have been two failed attempts to bring a true Formula One event to Moscow as well as one for St. Petersburg. I for one truly hope that the Moscow City Racing events continue to whet the appetites of Moscovites and visitors, so that perhaps one day, Russia will have its own Grand Prix.
Attendance to the event was, wait for it….free! Of course if you are a true fan of F1, you could have reserved a seat in any of the 11 grandstands for RUR 2,500 to 5,000 or for the died-in-the-wool fan, a VIP ticket that gives you access to the VIP area for RUR 10,000. If you attended and simply can’t wait for another dose of F1 excitement, the Formula One races are still yet to be held in Hungary, Belgium, Italy, Singapore, Japan, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. But bring your credit cards, I just looked, the price for a paddock club ticket to the event in Italy is 3,059 Euro per person, plus hotel etc. See you next year at the hottest motor sports event in Russia.