Oxford, UK. Formula One entered new territory on Sunday 13 July when AT&T Williams took part in a demonstration run around the streets of Moscow.
Billed as "Moscow City Racing," the event was the first of its kind to be hosted in Russia and was the country's first major international sporting event since it staged the Olympic Games in 1980. Together with Red Bull Racing, AT&T Williams was the headline act of a day filled with a diverse mix of high octane motorsport demonstrations all set against Moscow's dramatic city backdrop.
In the 2007 Williams-Toyota FW29, Nico Rosberg carried out two, three lap tours of the 4.6km track. The temporary street route saw Nico start his lap next to Red Square, run past the Kremlin, around the Kremlyovskaya and Moskvoretskaya embankments of the Moscow River and finish at the Bolshoi Theatre Square. In front of a capacity audience which lined the whole route, Nico wowed the crowd with roaring engines and screeching tyres while also closing the show with some spectular doughnuts and burn outs.
Of the event, Nico Rosberg commented, "I'm in the privileged position to be a part of many big events, but this really rates as one of the most amazing. What a city, and driving around the Kremlin and through Red Square was just awesome. To take Formula One out of its natural environment and show what we do to a completely new audience is great and this experience is certainly one I'll never forget. The attention we received from the media and the spectators was just incredible, massive! People really are fascinated by Formula One here. I'm convinced this was a really big boost for the sport, and for our team in particular, in Russia."
Frank Williams, Team Principal of the AT&T Williams team who was in Moscow for the demonstration, said, "Moscow is a truly surprising and interesting city. The street event hopefully is a warm-up to an eventual Grand Prix in, or near, the city. There appears to be an enormous enthusiasm for such a possibility."
The event itself was organised by Rotterdam Racing, the team behind various City Racing events. The first of which, "Monaco on the Maas," was staged in 2005 and was also headlined by Williams F1. The Moscow demonstration was just the latest in a number of off-track running car events that the team has been a part of since Monaco on the Maas. Since 2005, the team has demonstrated the spirit of Formula One to new audiences in Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Guangzhou in China.