Otay, perhaps I'm showing my age, eh? By shamelessly pilferin' that classic Battle Cry echoed by Benjamin Franklin; Err Paul Revere & The Raiders; Hya!
As Karmically, albeit not for him, look who's obituary just popped up on the newswires after I'd scribbled this epic tome...
Having grown-up in the era of the fleeting Cold War between USA, USA, USA! And Mother Russia, whose inhabitors were known as "Rooskies," this slang will forever be imbedded in my cranium. And whilst trying to overlook my disdain for Vladimir Putin due to his and his nation's DISGUSTING Homophobia...
Here's a Mondo' list of current Russian racing drivers I've attempted throwing a brief spotlight upon their rise thru the ranks of Single Seaters upon the heels of Russia's first modern day Grand Prix...
|Russian driver Vitaly Petrov poses in his 2010 Renault F1 "Kit" with helmet. (Image source: f1wolf.com)|
Currently, only two Rooskies' are denoted as Formula 1 drivers, since the modern day formulae didn't begin until 1950, with Vitaly 'VO5 Petrov becoming the first Russian F1 driver in 2010, as Vitaly will forever be affectionately remembered by Mwah for telling "Fredrico Suave" (Fernando Alonso) that he was Number One after holding the enraged Ferrari driver at bay upon Yas Isle for sixth place which in large part enabled "TWINKIEBOY" (Seb' Vettel) to capture the first of his four world championships.
Petrov began his racing career somewhat unorthodox, eschewing the traditional go karts route for some ice racing instead! After dominating in Russian Saloon's, he progressed thru European Feeder series, ultimately winding up runner-up to thee "Incredible Hulkster's" (Nico Hulkenberg) dominant romp to the 2009 GP2 title.
Vitaly made the leap into Formula 1 in 2010 for Renault, where he partnered "The Krakow Kid" (Robert Kubica) before driving for the rebadged Lotus Renault GP the following year, alongside 'Quick Nick (Heidfeld) and Bruno Senna.
Along with that memorable drive upon Yas Island, he became the first Russian to podium in F1 when finishing third at the 2011 season opener Down Under in Melbourne, before the team's fortunes slowly subsided.
For 2012, Petrov switched to the struggling Caterham concern for his final F1 season before finding himself out of a ride in 2013.
Next, for 2014, Petrov joined the DTM series where he currently races for Mucke Motorsport aboard a Mercedes...
Accordingly, although not in the realm of Open Wheel Racing, other well known Rooskie' Driver's known are Vladimir Chagin,a multi-time DAKAR winner aboard the Russian Kamaz "Trucks," nee Semi's.
Eduard Nikolaev followed in Chagin's footsteps, winning the 2013 DAKAR Trucks category behind the wheel of a Kamaz. Evgeny Novikov currently contests the World Rally Championship (WRC) and Leonid Novitskiy is a two-time FIA Cross Country Rally Cup champion, who captured his first DAKAR Stage win in 2012, all for the mighty X-RAID BMW Mini Squad. As this is just the tip of the Iceberg.
Yet this quartet's listing is in NO way conclusive; having completely overlooked a bevy 'O Tintop Boyz, most notably the cadre of World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) drivers, for example. Or the FIA's GT1 championship, Blan Paine, Le Mans, etc.
The following drivers are currently cutting their teeth in various ladder, or feeder series categories like Formula 3, etc. setting their sights upon the pinnacle 'O motorsports, aka F1 or perhaps even IndyCar racing.
Alexey Chuklin is currently contesting the European F3 Open series for Emilio de Villota Motorsport, albeit at 29yrs old, has most likely missed his chance for F1. And if the name Emilio de Villota sounds familiar that's because it is, as he was Maria de Villota's father, who ultimately died from her injuries sustained while testing for what's now Marussia F1; as the one year anniversary of her untimely death is October 14th...
Alessandro Vita Kouzkin, who is racing in the International Formula Master series currently, comes from an interesting lineage. As the Russian-Italian driver is the son of Ernesto Vita, the previous team principal of the beleaguered Life F1 concern, which never qualified for a Grand Prix during its short tenure.
Egor Orudzhev is a teenager from St Petersburg who after winning the 2009 Russian KF3 Karting title has gone onto a single seater career, currently contesting the EuropeCup Formula Renault 2.0 series, along with having won races in New Zealand's Toyota championship and Formula 3.
And Ivan Samarin, winner of the 2006-07 Formula 1600 Russia championships, who holds a vaunted Master of Sport title in Russia competes in the German F3 series, while Max Snegirev lives in London and currently contests the AutoGP series...
MARUSSIA MANOR RACING
Born out of the birth of then Manor F1, which subsequently became Virgin Racing, thanks to Sir Richard Branson's initial backing. Upon Nikolai Fomenko's takeover of Virgin and rebranding it into Marussia, Marussia Manor Racing was launched and currently contests the GP3 and European Formula Renault 2.0 series.
The team's history harkens 'Wayback to 1990 when current Marussia F1 Team Principal John Booth started his own race team, who's Alumni include past Formula 1 world champions Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton; plus ex-Formula 1 drivers "Jungle Boy," nee Antonio Pizzonia and Lucas di Grassi. Yet ironically, the Russian backed team currently has no Rooskie Pilotos' on its books...
While this series is relatively short-lived, having just been established four years ago in 2010 as part of the ladder steps to Formula 1, with most notably current Team Willy' (Williams) Hotschue Valtteri Bottas being its 2011 champion, and Sauber F1's Esteban Gutierrez being the series inaugural titlist.
Meanwhile, the 'lil Bulls, aka Red Bull's Seester Scuderia Toro Rosso's current lineup are also graduates of the series. As there's plenty 'O Rooskies' hungrily looking to emulate the reigning series champion Homeboy Daniil Kvyat's success and advance directly into F1!
Upon the series debut, Marussia Motors, the driver development arm of what ultimately became Marussia F1, promoted Russian racer Ivan Lukashevich to a seat at Status Grand Prix. Yet, he seemingly has fallen off of the proverbial radar screen, as I'm not sure where he's gone since?
Another promising GP3 youngster named Maxim Zimin, who signed a lucrative Gas Prom development deal, raced for Jensor Motorsport in 2011, but like Lukashevich, Zimin has also disappeared with the two junior drivers careers apparently flaming out?
Amazingly, at the tender age of 17, Dmitry Suranovich announced his retirement from racing! After falling upon financial difficulties, as the former KF2 & KF3 Karting champion is perhaps best known(?) for causing the spectacular accident that caused American Conor Daly to go nearly upside down at Monte Carlo during the 2012 Monaco GP3 support race. As Suranovich was driving for Marussia Manor Racing at the time and was given a one-race ban following Monaco for ignoring corner workers flags and causing the incident...
For 2014, three Rooskies' made their rookie debut in the GP3 series, with Denis Nagulin, a largely unheralded former Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and European F3 Open driver racing for Trident, while fellow countryman Konstantin Tereshchenko, who reportedly won the 2012 Formula Russia title will be Nagulin's team-mate and reputedly earned the moniker "Cosmonaut'." after a spectacular barrel rolling crash at Spa! With NO word on whether or not the NBCSN TV Announcer who bestowed his Spaceman nickname upon him was thy 'Wee Willie Buxom (Will Buxton) or not? While Ivan Taranov, a past go kart winner will make his series debut for Hilmer Motorsport...
Cannot seem to find a whole lot upon this current Formula Renault 3.5 team, which apparently was born out of the Ashes of past competitors Target Racing and MT Motorsport; whilst "Target" isn't related to 'Cheep; Hya! (Chip Ganassi) Instead being the Italian based BVM Target racing team now contesting Formula Arbarth,
With BVM being demoted to reserve status in 2013, and the latter never making the cut, albeit wishing to do so, an alliance was apparently formed with Zeta Management and hence, the "Spin-off" Zeta Corse was born.
The team deliriously celebrated its maiden Pole and WSR victory at Moscow Raceway when Spaniard Roberto Merhi led "Wire-to-Wire" en route to a Hat-trick of Pole, Fastest lap and victory in Round-2 of the Formula Renault 3.5 race this past June..
As Merhi has since won two more races at the legendous' Nurburgring and the Hungaroring, along with two more Poles and currently lies second in the championship behind Carlos Sainz, Jr. as both men hope to emulate last year's champion Kevin "Bacon" Magnussen's direct path to Formula 1!
FORMULA RENAULT 3.5
This seems to be one of the current Hot-beds of activity for aspiring Russian racers, with the likes of Daniil Kvyat having won twice (in EuroCup Formula Renault 2.0) and "S2," aka Sergey Sirotkin once at Moscow Raceway, which once again saw a bevy of Homeland talent sweep this year's weekend races...
Daniil Move, like Ivan Samarin above, holds a vaunted Master of Sport title, and as a lark entered a karting event which spawned his late racing career. Unfortunately, at 28yrs old, I'd say that the Muscovite' who's a past British Formula Ford winner and Formula RUS runner-up has reached his zenith in Open Wheel Racing with some 100-plus starts and only one Pole position along with finishing tenth twice in the championship. With Anton Nebylitskiy breaking into the series in '09, spending three mostly uncompetitive seasons in the sport before disappearing.
Nikolay Martsenko made his Formula Renault 3.5 debut in 2012, after competing in the German, Finnish and Northern European F3 championships, and has steadily improved his overall finishing position the past three seasons.
Roman Mavlanov, a multiple Russian Karting champion, who holds the dubious honour of being DSQ'ed (Disqualified) three times in EuroCup Formula Renault 2.0, along with being excluded from one race, also racing in the International GT Open series, makes his debut in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2014.
Sergey Sirotkin, a name that should be known for his and his father's F1 ambitions, kicked off this year's Formula Renault 3.5 weekend at Moscow Raceway in fine style by winning Round-1 from Pole for Fortec Motorsports on June 28th, and as a current Sauber F1 "Simulator Jockey" (Test/Reserve Driver) has already been confirmed to make his Grand Prix debut at this year's Russian GP during Friday's FP1 (Free Practice) session...
For Part 2 of this Gynormous story, see; The 'Rooskie's Are Coming,The 'Rooskie's Are Coming - Honest!