Tag Archives: Russia

10 Reasons why Russia is not an automotive desert

A few days ago I made fun of Russian cars. My new friend Vladimir Putin was not amused. Apparently by agreeing to a Russian Grand Prix I have been bestowed with a certain responsibility to improve Russia’s automotive reputation in the rest of the world.

So here goes. I had my assistants collect some prime examples of Russian automotive goodness. And goodness me, this magnificent country has achieved a lot more than I expected. Whatever you may think about their industrial strength, the spirit’s already there. It’s amazing what a determined Russian can do without too much technology. God knows what’s going to happen when they get their hands on some state of the art F1 high tech.

‘Priceless’ I’d call it, where it not for the fact that everything in Russia has a price. Everything. So without further ado, I present to you ten amazing automotive achievements of the Empire of the East. Click on any picture, or click on the first and scroll through all of them.

Or if you want them all on one page, Continue reading

Putin called. Expects me to praise Russia’s automotive prowess

Apparently I have a responsibility now to serve and protect Mother Russia’s interests. He says my portrait is hanging in the Kremlin as the founder of modern automotive technology in twenty-first century Russia.

More specifically he takes issue with my showing some examples of car horrors earlier on. Says I do have a point and Russia has a long way to go, but it’s not all sadness and misery and I should show the other side of things too.

Oh dear. So now I’m Russia’s Automotive Propaganda Czar.


You can accuse them of a lot of things, but subtlety’s not one of them. Although Renault strenuously denies it, everybody knows Vitaly Petrov wouldn’t be in the team if it weren’t for 15 million Euros. And since comrad Vitaly’s disastrous first race the noise has gotten worse.

So articles like this one start appearing. Brilliant PR. The main message is the headline, as it should be: “Petrov is not your average F1 pay driver.” You bet he ain’t. But why?

Well, these are Russians, so in case you didn’t get it immediately they’re prepared to spell it out for you: “Vitaly has not come into F1 because of the money, but because of the strategic interests of various companies”. Oh, and because of his driving talent. Ahem.

Strategic interest of various companies. Umm, right. The Russian companies themselves are not being named at this stage, obviously. They’d like to stay in the background. (Where have I heard that before? Ah yes, my Dutch friends who bought Saab.) But Renault, and anybody who keeps spreading these vicious rumours about Petrov being a pay driver: you are officially warned now. Shut up.