F1 team unveiled new car in snowy Moscow in front of the Kremlin

An F1 team once launched their new car in Moscow’s Red Square in sub-zero temperatures that left their drivers shivering.

The 2023 launch season is underway with Haas the team to break cover with its new colour scheme. The nine other teams will show off their new colours and designs over the next couple of weeks ahead of pre-season testing in Bahrain at the end of February and the first Grand Prix at the same venue in early March.

It’s fair to say F1 launches aren’t quite as jazzy, glamorous or bizarre as they used to be. Going back to the 2000s, it wasn’t uncommon for launches to feature appearances from majority celebrities and performances from popstars.

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They could also be held in the most unusual of destinations. Take the launch of the Jordan car ahead of the 2005 season which took place in the Russian capital in the shadow of the Kremlin.

The team had just been taken over by Russian-Canadian steel magnet Alex Shnaider – founder of the Midland Group – and was renamed Midland F1 for the 2006 season. However, for 2005 it kept the Jordan name and its familiar yellow colour scheme.

The team was being billed as Russia's first F1 team, which led to the 2005 launch being held in Moscow. There were even rumours before the launch that president Vladimir Putin would make an appearance. Those rumours didn’t materialise but there was an army band to entertain the drivers and assembled media.

However, it did little to warm up drivers Narain Karthikeyan, the first F1 driver to hail from India, and Portuguese racer Tiago Monteiro, who looked visibly chilly.

The pair went on to have a tough season. The team secured one podium finish, through Monteiro, although that was by default at the infamous US Grand Prix, when just six cars started the race after the Michelin-shod teams pulled out because their rubbed could not safely cope with the banking at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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By the end of the 2005 season, even before the planned name change, there were rumours Shnaider was getting cold feet about the team and there were suggestions he tried to sell it before 2006.

The team did race as Midland for most of 2006 before being sold to Spyker Cars and renamed again. The same Silverstone-based team later raced as Force India and Racing Point before being taken over by current owner Aston Martin.


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