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New Team Plan to Make F1 Debut in 2006

Formula One is set to welcome a new team to the grid after the newly-created Midland F1 company announced they plan to make their debut in the 2006 Australian Grand Prix.

The project, run by the Midland Group - a private international trading and investment-holding organisation - announced a partnership with Dallara and said their headquarters will be on the outskirts of London.

The company is registered in Guernsey but claims to be "most active" in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and has been co-founded by 36-year-old Alex Shnaider.

"We are in the middle of a selection process for the crew," Shnaider told the official Formula One website. "For a global-acting business conglomerate the search for a global platform is mutual and Formula One is the perfect fit.

"I am surprised that no one has realised that having a Formula One team is like getting an NBA or NHL franchise for free, as it is one of the world's most popular sports.

"The opportunity to create value is immense and it stuns me that there are not more companies that have identified this opportunity just as we have. Everybody wants to win. Midland F1 will be no exception to that.

"First we have to do our homework: put a team together - the right people, a competitive car. Then we can start thinking about winning. But I can assure you winning will be on our agenda."

The new team is yet to arrange an engine supply but are currently holding talks with "the usual suspects" and Shnaider said he would "reveal everything" by January or February next year.

One of the aims is to introduce the first Russian rookie to Formula One but the team are yet to make any approaches to drivers and has yet to instigate talks with a tyre supplier.

Shnaider does not plan to run the team in the long-term and said: "The Formula One project is my line of action and I will co-ordinate the build-up. Once the team is established I will delegate the day-to-day-business to a team manager."

He insisted the funding will be available to sustain the team and added: "We understand that basic survival in Formula One requires a budget of around $100 million (USD) per annum, and we are prepared for that."

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