Russian F1 team gets official license


MOSCOW -- Russia's first Formula One team became a reality
when Midland F1 Racing received a license to compete next season.

The Midland Group's Russian-born Canadian businessman, Alex
Shnaider, bought the Jordan team a year ago and renamed it for next

But Midland F1 Racing, also known as MF1, needed to get an
official license from the Russian Automobile Federation to take
part. RAF president Victor Kiryanov announced Thursday it had been

"Acquiring the Russian license marks the first step of a long
journey for Russian motorsport and for our country towards reaching
the highest levels of international motorsport," Kiryanov said.
"I hope that, some day, thanks to our joint efforts, Russian
drivers will be racing and excelling in Formula One."

The move was welcomed by F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.

"I am sure that the MF1 Racing team will create interest not
only in Russia but also worldwide," he said.

MF1's drivers are expected to be Christijan Albers of the
Netherlands and Tiago Monteiro of Portugal. Albers' countryman,
Nicky Pastorelli, is the team's test driver.