Artem Markelov, Renault, Hungaroring, 2018

Renault test driver Markelov’s father arrested in Sochi

2018 F1 season

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Valery Markelov, the father of Renault test driver and Formula Two racer Artem Markelov (pictured), has been arrested in relation to an ongoing corruption investigation in Russia.

The racing driver’s father was arrested in Sochi yesterday. He is accused of giving bribes to the former deputy head of the GUEBIPK department of the Interior Ministry Dmitry Zakharchenko, who is being investigated for corruption charges. The value of the bribes has not been disclosed but billions of roubles have been seized from Zakharchenko.

According to Russian media reports the charges relate to the Russian Railways company. Markelov is a co-founder of Lengiprotrans, which is Russian Railways’ largest contractor. Russian Railways has also financed his son’s F2 career.

Artem Markelov is in his fifth season of driving for the Russian Time team. He was appointed as Renault’s test and development driver in February.

Renault gave the 24-year-old his first run in an official practice session during last weekend’s Russian Grand Prix. Markelov also drove the team’s RS18 in their allocated young drivers’ test day earlier this year.

Markelov, whose family are from Moscow, scored a best championship finish of second last year when he was runner-up to Charles Leclerc. He finished last weekend’s F2 races 11th and fifth and will go into the season finale at Yas Marina next month fifth in the championship, 82 points behind leader George Russell.

@HazelSouthwell contributed to this story.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Renault test driver Markelov’s father arrested in Sochi”

  1. so there is still hope that one day we will know (almost) eveything about dirty money pumped into strange F1 “careers” of Markelov, Sirotkin, Kvyat and others

    1. Dulin, mind you, it is not as if there aren’t others for whom there might be uncomfortable questions.

      For example, do we question Brazilian drivers who might have received support from Petrobras in the past given that we now know from “Operation Carwash” that they would have been receiving funds in part earned through corrupt dealings between Petrobras and the Brazilian state?

      Alternatively, should we say that Grosjean’s career was funded by “dirty money” given he was backed by Total S.A. in the past, and that company has more than its share of rather shady deals (multiple cases of bribery and corruption, evading international sanctions against military dictatorships and so on)?

  2. Always nice when Putin is in the neighborhood ;)

  3. Told this to a friend that follows F1 as much as I do. His reaction was:

    Is that the one that wanted to buy Force India?

    So basically, there are so many billionaires around F1 trying to put their kids there that we are starting to lose track of who they are? 1% they say? It feels like I’m the only one not being a billionaire, I bet I could give Lewis a run for his money.

    1. No, that was Nikita Mazepin’s dad Dimitry.

      This is the guy who is linked with buying his son a seat at Williams next year…

      1. I will admit to having momentarily been confused too @johnmilk,@geemac; guess this might be a sliver of light for Ocon’s chances then?

        1. The latest rumor is that Toro Rosso is offering Ocon a seat for 2019, IF he is free from any other contractual obligations. I think TR would be a better place for Ocon for 2019 but he should consider only signing a 1 year deal in case better options open for 2020.

      2. Yeah, one would think that maybe this would hurt the financing of the Williams deal – apart from, or maybe even connected with the rumours of him and Sirotking’s backers not being on the best terms (for all we know the arrest was inspired by some push from there) @geemac, @bosyber, @johnmilk

    2. So, is this the one who’s hoping for a Williams seat, then…? ;)
      Maybe better chance for Ocon now… ;)

    3. José Lopes da Silva
      2nd October 2018, 20:44

      Confusing Russians? Careful, you might be considered a Russophobe…

  4. In my country, when a rich person gets arrested for bribery/corruption related reasons, the first question we plebs ask is “Which political leader did he annoy?”

  5. Did he forget to pay off Putin?? Silly man.

    1. In Putin’s Russia corruption is when the right people don’t get paid. The entire Olympic venue there was infamously constructed on an enormous mountain of graft. Whenever I watch the GP I remind myself of how may Cyprus-registered yachts and 9-figure villas for government officials were paid for in the process of building those stadiums and roads you see there.

      1. Imagine that there were such brave Russian citizens who opposed those Sochi scam, like Yevgeny Vitishko and payed price we wouldn’t imagine…

  6. Move along, nothing to see here.

  7. This guy must have done something monumentally stupid to be investigated for corruption in RUSSIA of all places.

    Oh the irony…

    1. Yep, he probably forgot to also pay Putin…

      Actually it seems that he has been arrested in relation to a case against the head of the anti-corruption department. It is certainly possible that the Government Official has been arrested and set up after attempting to investigate Putins mates.

      However it also looks like Valery Markelov has attempted to get a former business associate assasinated! So he seems like a nice guy… Do we really want to see drivers in F1 that have got there through such obviously criminal means?

  8. No Williams seat then Markelov then?

  9. Neil (@neilosjames)
    2nd October 2018, 21:46

    Probably farted in the lift before Putin got in…

    1. Ah, I think that was Bernie.

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