Recently-crowned 2010 World Series by Renault Champion Mikhail Aleshin is palpably eager to follow in the wheel tracks of his groundbreaking countryman Vitaly Petrov by becoming only the second Russian driver ever to make it onto the grand prix grid – only unlike the Renault F1 rookie, his greatest stumbling-block is money.
Petrov secured his 2010 cockpit alongside grand prix-winner Robert Kubica at Enstone with the aid of a reputed €15 million – to some extent overshadowing the 25-year-old's impressive pedigree in the junior formulae, all the way up to his race-winning and title-challenging credentials in GP2 – but Aleshin, who stands to test for Renault as his prize for clinching the World Series laurels this year, laments that he has no such luxury.
As he hopes to use the test next month as a springboard from which to attract attention from other teams in the top flight, the 23-year-old Moscow native concedes that he needs financial support in the region of some €10-€15 million – or else will likely have to kiss his F1 dream goodbye.
“I did everything that depended on me,” Aleshin told the Sovetsky Sport
newspaper, reflecting on his successful 2009 campaign. “Now, it's the sponsors' turn to decide. Everything will be sorted out shortly. We're looking for the necessary funds now.
“My father and I have created a support programme for young drivers, called 'Our Formula'. The partners who helped us to create it are Gazprom-Neft, Gazprombank and tyre brand Cordiant. It is only thanks to them that we have achieved such good results.
“Except for me, there are seven other young drivers on the programme. They all take part in karting, but we are preparing to transfer the senior ones amongst them to junior formulae soon. The motto of the programme is 'From Karting to F1'. It's designed [to last] for many years, and nothing of the kind has been launched in Russia [before].”