Toro Rosso's teenager Daniil Kvyat at the 2014 Australian GP. (Image source: redbull.com;
And like A-L-L good stories produced here at Nofendersville, once again this lookie-see' for aspiring Mother Russia racers has morphed into two-part harmony; Hooah! As Y'all are saying, but what about the Russian Big Boyz, right?
RT RUSSIAN TIME
In 2013, RT Russian Time was finally admitted entrance into GP2, effectively replacing I-Sport International who'd run into financial difficulty. As Russian Time made a brilliant debut by capturing the team's title along with Sam Bird finishing runner-up to series champion Fabio Leimer, who's currently contesting the World Endurance Championship for Rebellion Racing, a la Bird who's also embarked upon an endurance racing career.
Russian Time also contests the lower GP3 category, while Bird's replacement in GP2, the "Other" Mitch Evans, NOT the Unlimited Hydros' driver; Hya! But 'Kiwi Mitch Evans instead, has garnered his inaugural GP2 victory for the squad earlier this season...
Although this year's season has mostly snuck by, for which I've previously lamented its lack of television coverage Stateside, hence being unawares' that the series would be racing at the just concluded Russian GP in Sochi. The championship's final outing will take place upon Yas Island this November alongside the STUPENDOUS Double Points F1 finale...
Alas, during the midst of this story, I've just discovered "Johnny-come-Lately" that 2013 German Formula 3 championship runner-up for Lotus, 20yr old Russian driver Artem Markelov is currently contesting this year's GP2 series, appropriately for Russian Time Racing, and thus, surely must have his sights set upon Formula 1...
Although Mikhail Aleshin is indeed the first Rooskie' IndyCar pilot, having just completed his rookie campaign for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, the 27yr old Muscovite' wasn't the first Russian driver to ply his trade Stateside, as previously unknown driver Sergey Mokshantsev briefly contested the Indy Lights championship 'Wayback in 2009 for the long forgotten Brian Stewart Racing team, having fallen off the radar screen since then.
Aleshin's biggest claim-to-fame most notably is capturing the 2010 Formula Renault 3.5 series championship, yet the Moscow native, like all aspiring racers has a wealth of single seater experience, having raced in GP2 Asia and GP2, the long forgotten A1 GP series along with the requisite Feeder Series, which saw him win the 2004 FR 2.0 Italy Winter series title along with finishing third overall in the '09 FIA F2 championship.
Ironically, in 2011 as Mikhail was fighting the inevitable cash woes afflicting many drivers worldwide, forcing him to abandon his Carlin GP2 ride, he landed a part-time seat back in Formula Renault 3.5 which came at the expense of Anton Nebylitskiy, who he replaced.
After a ghastly winter's GP2 Asia campaign, upon having won the Formula Renault 3.5 title with Carlin, Mikhail only raced sporadically alongside Max Chilton, who's gone on to become a Marussia F1 racing driver! As Aleshin tested for Renault in the 2010 Abu Dhabi Young Drivers test - believing he'd advance to the pinnacle 'O motorsports the following year, which saw countryman Vitaly Petrov retaining his seat instead as the only Rooskie on the F1 grid.
thus, having apparently grown overly frustrated with Formula 1's doors being closed, Mikhail headed Stateside instead for this year's Indy Car Series season, where he became the sport's first ever Russian to podium - taking a fine second place at Houston behind then team leader Simon Pagenaud.
|Mikhail Aleshin "Hero Card" obtained at this year's Go Pro Sonoma Grand Prix. (The Tomaso Collection)|
Having had the pleasure of "meeting 'N greeting" Mikhail this year at Sonoma Raceway; 'Whale Otay, I didn't actually shake his hand or nothing, since my "Seeing Eye Guide Guy" extraordinaire Claudio was busy talkin' smart to him about being a fine Russian Ambassador instead, the last thing I knew about Aleshin was that horrific crash he suffered during night practice at Fontana for the IndyCar season finale, which I posted the following;
As Mikhail's subsequently been released from hospital and says he's recuperating nicely and will see us behind the steering wheel in 2015, presumably once again driving for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports...
Funny how our brains work, eh? Musing to myself when purusing the list of Russian Drivers, why does Nikolai Fomenko's name sound familiar to Mwah? Yeah, guessing Yuhs already know, right? Can Y'all say Marussia! Although I know I scribbled 'bout Fomenko selling off his controlling interest in the team to unknown backers in;
Yet I was totally unawares' that Fomenko had once been a burgeoning Sports Car driver, having contested the Rolex 24 and Le Mans twice, interestingly teaming at Circuit de la Sarthe with another unknown driver, Frenchman Patrick Bourdais; Hmm? Who I've just learned is the father of le Hamburgular, or SeaBass, nee Sebastain Bourdais.
Hence, following his endurance racing career, Fomenko turned his Attenzione towards the production of Super Cars and SHUHZAMM! The Russian Super Car producer Marussia was born! Alas, in the time honoured tradition of brand exposure, Nikolai first sponsored the then Virgin F1 team, which became Marussia Virgin Racing before Fomenko utilized his controlling interest to rebrand the team into its current day guise as Marussia F1...
Although Vitaly Petrov was indeed the first Russian to contest the modern day FIA World Championship, nonetheless, Prince Igor Nikolayevich Troubetzkoy was the first Russian to drive a Ferrari in Grand Prix motor racing, piloting a Tipo 166 in the 1948 Monaco Grand Prix, having won the prestigious Targa Florio the same year also for la Scuderia in a Ferrari model 166 Spyder.
Troubetzkoy was briefly married to Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, one of the richest women in the world at the time, and if her name sounds familiar, then perhaps Y'all recall her only child's name, that being her son Lance Reventlow - as I feel another story coming on here...
Also beating both Petrov and Daniil Kvyat to the confines of a modern day F1 chassis was Sergey Zlobin, who was a test driver for Minardi in 2002, although never actually taking part in a Grand Prix. As Zlobin has an interesting back-plot to his racing career, having been the victim of a car bombing 'Wayback in '07, which he survived!
And while I can only surmise this ended his brief racing career, or at least effected it? Reputedly he's got a (half) brother named Daniil Move, who is one of the countless aspiring Russian drivers and was a Formula Renault 3.5 "Journeyman," who's apparently moved on, possibly to Sports Cars? Also, Sergey has a son named Nikita who's an aspiring racing driver...
And as Y'all know, this year's Formula 1 season saw the addition of then teenager Daniil Kvyat at Scuderia Toro Rosso who broke somebody named Vettel's record for youngest ever driver to score points in an F1 race, which is exactly what he did with his fine ninth-place finish Down Under in Albert Park; ironically being elevated from tenth after his soon-to-be Red Bull team-mates exclusion.
As apparently I'm not the only one who's been impressed by the junior category championship winner's talent, as he's the rookie who's impressed me the most this year...
Since Y'all know that Kvyat's just been promoted to be Daniel Ricciardo's team-mate at Red Bull Racing next year in the wake of Sebastian Vettel scurrying off to la Scuderia! Which as Grizzled Journo' Joe Saward said, was fortuitous - with the Russian GP then being a week away, not to mention the 22% growth rate Russia's experiencing market-wise, apparently, as DAMN! That's a whole lotta Red Bulls, so drink up Boyz; Hooah!
And Yuhs already know that S2, aka Sergey Sirotkin made his debutant Formula 1 outing during this year's Russian Grand Prix, where the current Formula Renault 3.5 driver, who won Round-1 of this year's series championship's outing at Moscow Raceway, drove for Sauber F1 during Friday's FP1 (Free Practice) session; hence being the first time ever that two Rooskies' had been On-track during an F1 session together...