Kossatchenko, Oksana

5 minutes with: Oksana Kossatchenko: I’ve introduced Vitaly Petrov to F1 and to The VALiens

Oksana Kossatchenko

Oksana Kossatchenko

Vitaly Petrov is only in his second Formula 1 season, but he has already established himself as a firm member of the Renault team. GPUpdate.net speaks exclusively with his manager Oksana Kossatchenko to discover how they met, analyse the 2011 campaign so far and discuss the inaugural Russian Grand Prix…

When did your involvement in motorsport begin?

I’ve been working in motorsport since 1998 because my main job was being a TV presenter. I’m still working for Eurosport in Russia doing all motorsport events except Formula 1, because I’m travelling quite a bit in the Formula 1 paddock. That’s why I’ve been involved in motorsport for many years already.

What were the circumstances behind you becoming Vitaly’s manager?

Well we met during an event, I was working as the manager at one of the events. He was driving one of the cars, he was successful driving in some of the rallies in a small region of Northern Russia. He was winning all of the events, so he decided that probably he could be a racing driver, but he had no idea about Formula 1.

I was connected with the motorsport world, that’s why they came to talk with me and I thought ‘I can just give you some advice’. I brought them to Italy, to see a friend of mine called Vincenzo Sospiri who used to be a Formula 1 driver. We visited Giancarlo Minardi (founder of Minardi), because I knew him since I was living here in Italy. We met and they just advised me, saying ‘he can go to Formulas like this, this and this’. But he was quite tall, so no one was sure that he would succeed.

So I sent Vitaly to Italy, but then I understood that he didn’t speak any other languages, he didn’t understand the reality because he lived in Russia and had not visited Europe that often. I had to follow him, we went together to all the races and I did some translations for him. So like this, I started to help him more and more and then we understood that we should cooperate together. We decided it would be smarter.

The second reason, I have a marketing education and I discovered that somebody had to support us financially, because motorsport cannot be based on the money a father can bring. That’s why I started to create the concept, looking at where we were going and how we could reach the first level. After this we could think about Formula 1.

I showed them Formula 1, some other motorsports and in 2004 we ran in Europe with Formula Renault. In 2006 we switched to Formula 3000 for the bigger cars, and then at the end of 2006 I contacted the DPR (David Price Racing) team to try and get us the possibility to run in the final few races of the season in GP2. This was the moment that Vitaly first saw a Formula 1 car, at Hockenheim.

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