Malaysia isn’t ready for an F1 team

Posted on

| Written by

Sepang has struggled to attract large crowds to the Malaysian Grand Prix

Malaysia is considering putting money into an F1 team entry. You might expect Malaysian F1 fans to be keen on the idea, but it’s not the case as guest writer Jay Menon explains.

The Malaysian government is supporting a bid for Proton-owned Lotus to return to the F1 grid in 2010.

I can’t say I’m entirely surprised, it’s pretty typical of our government’s mentality. This is and has been the perennial problem with this country, we always want to look good, but with a glaring lack of substance beneath the surface.

As far as I can see, there is absolutely no need for this. They will argue that it’s in the best interest of promoting the sport in the country, to heighten the interest among kids, to make Proton cars better, to maintain the Petronas name in F1 etc??

I can safely tell you it’s got nothing to do with any of the aforementioned, its all got to with… bragging rights.

We in Malaysia are very accustomed to bragging rights – see the Petronas Twin Towers, see Proton. This F1 team idea is just another one of our gimmicks.

To begin with, lets ask how many “real” drivers do we actually have? Two, maybe three. We all know Alex Yoong, who drove a Minardi for a couple years, redefining the term failure in the process, and competed in A1 for team Malaysia.

Then there is Fairuz Fauzy, currently competing in World Series by Renault having raced in GP2 and A1 before. Lastly, there is young Jazeman Jaafar, a very talented 16 year old currently racing in Formula BMW Europe (finished fourth at Spa last week).

So, the talent pool isn’t exactly very deep. Instead of buying an F1 team, which costs millions upon millions to fund, wouldn’t it be a lot better to invest that money in promoting the sport locally?

Set up junior formulae, encourage parents to involve their kids in motorsport, probably even setup state sponsorship programs or funding of some sort with the goal of developing young talent into proper racers. If this was the government’s goal, I suspect buying an F1 team would be way down on the list.

If promotion of local motorsport was in the government’s best interest, why didn’t they support our very successful PERT RallyTeam in their bid to enter the WRC? Karamjit Singh, our superstar driver won the Production World Rally Championship in 2002, after that, not only did he not get the backing for the WRC, he couldn’t even get enough sponsorship to compete in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship. (Having said all this, Proton are rumoured to enter the WRC in 2010, but that’s a different story.)

How about the idea of funding a existing race team? Qi-Meritus Mahara is probably the only proper Malaysian race team. The team competed in GP2 Asia for the past 2 years, scoring 17 points (no podiums) last year and nine points with Earl Bamber getting on the podium in China.

They have set modest goals of getting into the GP2 main series in 2011 and designing a F1 car by 2016. For me, this would be a more credible approach to doing this, where they can actually build a team from the ground up, ease local talent in the many positions there are in a racing team before eventually reaching the pinnacle of F1. Extra funding could also allow the team to enter junior teams into lower formulae which can act as a training ground for developing talent.

It’s also understood that Proton are pushing Lotus to a F1 return. Proton, which is owned by our government, being the major stakeholder in Lotus, has the power to do so. But why would they do this? Lotus themselves haven’t shown a great interest in returning in recent years, could it be a ploy to improve the marketability of the Proton brand?

If this is their plan, well, good luck, because it’s going to take a lot more than a F1 team in their repertoire to improve Proton. Although Proton have owned majority of Lotus stocks for the good part of 13 years, can’t say much of their technology has been transferred to our shores.

Instead of pouring the millions into an F1 team, why not invest in improving Proton? They’ve been cash-strapped for the past couple years as their sales have taken a downturn due to stiff competition from the like of Perodua, Toyota, Kia, and others. Their quality isn’t worth much mention either. Would it be a lot better to enter a team into F1 as a credible car manufacturer first?

One of the other mentioned reasons is that Petronas would like to stay on as title sponsor. That’s a pretty stupid reason to start an F1 team if you ask me. If Petronas want to stay in F1 for 2010, well, they should just sponsor the next team that comes along. Which new F1 team would resist money? Petronas have sizeable pockets, it would be a welcoming boost for a newbie.

It’s quite odd that I’m so very against this idea. As an F1 fan, it would be great to have an F1 team or driver who’s flag is common to yours – but I want it to be a credible, not a paddock joke.

I believe as a country, and from a motorsport/F1 perspective, Malaysia does not need this. Before things like this ever get discussed, the culture of motorsport must exist in the country. Motor sport in general must become a lot more accessible and above all, be actually recognised as a proper sport.

When will we know that this has been achieved? When you see a sell out crowd at Sepang!

The next question that begs the answer is, why hasn’t the sport taken off in the country? Racing is not a part of our culture. The only Asian country with a true heritage of racing is Japan, for obvious reasons.

We’ve been racing at Sepang since 1999, that’s 11 years, and we still cant fill the place up even though tickets are fairly cheap. Having pockets of enthusiasts will never sell the sport in a big way, which is exactly the case here in Malaysia.

The masses do not get the idea of racing as vast majority of folk are in the belief that "F1 is boring", "No overtaking" etc… Of the folk that are enthusiastic about the sport, actually getting the opportunity is extremely difficult. The sport is normally reserved for the wealthy and connected individuals, as it just costs too much, even at karting level.

I spoke to a father who recently pulled his talented son out of karting due to the high costs. Although he earns an above average living in Malaysia, he just could not afford to fund his son’s racing as he started to progress. He mentioned that the sponsorship berths were very limited, and this normally involves politics.

Although there a quite a number of race car and motor cycle clubs here, there are never enough to foster the culture of racing in general to the masses. The only way to improve this, as mentioned, start at the grass roots, give talented kids a chance, the numbers will grow and the so will the interest along with it to evolve in to a culture. Spending millions on a F1 team with our money is not the answer, developing our own racers with it, that’s more like it!

Do you think Malaysia is ready for its own F1 team? Have your say in the comments.

2009 Malaysian Grand Prix

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

62 comments on “Malaysia isn’t ready for an F1 team”

  1. Hmmm… good to see outside interest in the sport, especially out of europe, but…

    team USF1
    team Malaysia

    F1 is becoming A1GP

    1. You’re forgetting Force India

      1. yea i remembered force india after i submited the comment, but the teams are privatly owned, they use the country’s name.
        And not all A1GP teams are owned but there country, NZ’s team is owned buy the guy who imports exotic cars to New Zealand, Collin Giltrap

    2. USF1 and ForceIndia are all private interests. Team Malaysia will be government owned or backed.

  2. Prisoner Monkeys
    8th September 2009, 6:36

    Good article, but I suspect that if a Malaysian team makes it into the sport, it’s going to be a lot like Force India and be Malaysian in name only. The people, the facilities and the resources are all in Europe, so the team would have to be established there if they wanted any chance of success. USF1 are even looking to buy (or rent) facilities in nothern Spain to help in their campaign.

    Secondly, the FIA has announced that the thirteenth and final berth (though I have heard the rumour that if it comes down to Epsilon and Prodrive and they cannot split the two, a fourteenth slot may be opened specially) will be drawn upon from one of the short-listed team who didn’t make the initial annoucement of the new teams back in June. Given that Mike Gascoyne was involved in the Litespeed-Lotus project and is now in this Malaysian consortium, I wouldn’t be too surprised if the Malaysians have either bought Litespeed out, or are setting themselves up as a principal backer.

    Further, with Meritus Mahara announcing that they want to join Formula One in 2016, this could be an advance party. Throw money at Litespeed, let them do their thing and keep them in the sport for a few years. Then, when 2016 comes around – and if Meritus Mahara have made the grade – encourage a buyout so that the team goes from being named Litespeed-Lotus to Lotus-Mahara (or whatever). That way, Meritus Mahara won’t have to go through a selection process, try and buy another team out, or hope that one of the 2015 teams withdraws.

  3. I’m from Malaysia, been introduced and following F1 since it came to Sepang and I agree with this writing – simply No to Malaysian F1 team! No Yet and No Shortcuts!

    But with a plan like Qi-Meritus Mahara, I’d like to see this dream come true!

  4. I agree with Jay Menon. As they say, Command and Conquer. Maybe it’s better if Proton makes itself more visible to the public. Start first on their homeland Malaysia, then parts of Asia, then spread off to US then Europe. It maybe a long way to go but it’s better than going straight to F1. It’s like a shot to the moon. Lotus is very promising, but it seems it lacks marketing and promotion.

    With regards to ticket sales, Malaysia should also pump up their Tourism efforts. If foreigners come to Malaysia to watch the grand prix, they should also have something to visit after the race.

    1. Is it due to the tsunami fears that tourism has suffered in Malaysia? Cuz i know a couple of people who survived that disaster, they say they fearing going back to Thailand, Malaysia & other coastal areas.

  5. I agree with you Jay, it would be an empty attempt to establish a “National” team. And you are bang on when talking about establishing a true racing heritage before taking this kind of step, motorsport needs to get into the blood of the populous before it can experience success commercially, it’s not a ready to use product bought in the box for millions (Despite Bernie selling it this way)
    The only concequence of a Malaysian F1 team is that the general public will come to resent the sport as it will consume so much money that could and should be spent elsewhere.
    Fantastic balanced opinion, good honest writing Jay, because part of you must think “Wouldn’t it be great…”

  6. Hey Menon!! You are too harsh on your Government. At least you have Petronas Towers, we have nothing :(

    1. What country are you from?

  7. Nursyahir(Malaysian)
    8th September 2009, 9:09

    AS a Malaysian…i think that we are not ready for a Formula1 team. it is a big idea indeed, but whos going to support us for financial, enginners and even drivers…Yes we have Alex and Fairus, but a radical changes is no meaning in F1. if PROTON want to join F1 WITH LOTUS , we need more experience in formula1. This sport is high in value but the risk is high tooo. lotus has not been updated with the latest formula1 car,l rule, stategies ….I cannot say that proton is ready for F1, EVEN in Malaysia , People like to buy cars like Naza, toyota instead of our own national car. Even Perodua is better in car sales. I am not telling bad things about proton but it is the true..If petronas are desperate for name in f1..what if YOU JOIN SAUBER AGAIN AND BUY BMW..for me, dont sponsor the new teams because there are still unpredictable ….

    For some information, Yes , to develope a racer here in Malaysia , it does need high cost… There is no sponsorship here…to be more clear..there is a new go kart track here in Mallace but i dont see any constant use here..

    1. I dunno why you are underestimating yourself & your country Nursyahir. When an Indian can own a F1 team, why can’t a Malaysian? Both have common history of being battered & bruised the colonial Britishers.

      EVEN in Malaysia , People like to buy cars like Naza, toyota instead of our own national car

      That is because people think foreign made goods are better, but they are wrong.

      Despite the recession, Maruti Udyog remains the single largest car manufacturer in India. Even public must make a conscious effort to buy home made goods.

      I strongly support the entry of govt funded Proton-Lotus into F1.

      1. MP4-19B

        We’re not underestimating ourselves or our country, its quite far from that.

        Firstly, why should the money that belongs to people be wasted on a non value added entity such as an F1 team? You cannot compare this effort with Force India.

        Vijay Mallaya, is businessman who has purchased an F1 team with his own money, with no government backing whatsoever. Thats perfectly fine, if any of the Malaysian business elite decided to buy over BMW, go ahead, I dont mind, but when taxpayer’s money get thrown in the mix, it becomes a little different. How would you like if your government decided to spend millions on an F1 team when your basic transportation system needs the money more?

        We dont think local goods are inferior to foreign goods, its got nothing to with that. Let me ask you this, have you ever driven a Proton? We dont like Proton’s because they are rubbish, at least most models are. We’ve had to buy them for all these year because those were the only cars we could afford. Now with more local makers like Perodua and Naza, who outstrip Proton in quality and efficiency, we can choose not to anymore.

        Why not you gather support from your government to host the Indian GP before supporting my government’s financial miss management?

        1. We dont think local goods are inferior to foreign goods, its got nothing to with that. Let me ask you this, have you ever driven a Proton? We dont like Proton’s because they are rubbish, at least most models are.

          Reminds me of crash test Top Gear team had done on Proton Cars – The cars failed miserably and couldn’t hold ground against entry level foreign cars….

  8. If the Malaysian GP isn’t a sell out and even Malaysian F1 fans are against the idea of a national team it can’t be a good idea. The best way to make F1 popular in a country is to have a successful driver, as shown by Alonso and Kubica in recent years.

    Does anyone know if the FIA have set a deadline for the decision on the 13th team? Would a completely new team have enough time to even be ready for 2010 or would they be granted entry from 2011.

    I think the best option would be for whoever buys the BMW Sauber team to take the place, but as they don’t have a grid slot they currently are not a very attractive purchase and without a buyer they won’t get the grid slot.

  9. I agree with some of it but not all.

    I think it goes that in all countries, those that just watch motorsport outnumber participants at any level exponentially. I.e Motorsport is for the majority of people, a spectator sport.

    I guess that you are right and a large part of the reason for doing it is for kudos or bragging rights, but if I wanted to generate F1 interest in Malaysia and get attendance up at Serpang, then having a “Malaysian” team seems the quickest and best chance I have of achieving it.

    1. Sorry, but I don’t agree with “but if I wanted to generate F1 interest in Malaysia and get attendance up at Serpang, then having a “Malaysian” team seems the quickest and best chance I have of achieving it.”
      I remeber watching one of the first race of Valentino at Sepang (250). At that time there was a local (Yusri if i remeber correctly) racing in 250 for Petronas. Who went to Sepang were cheering for “Vale” not some one that at his best qualify 14..and was always the bike fault

  10. I think Jay Menon is right instead of a F1 team why not improve Proton car,Secondly they can use the money to promote F1 in Malaysia as Singapore is stealing the show from them because of night race.I am not telling to have a night race but the money can help funding young drivers so that F1 becomes a part of Malaysian like it does to the people of Japan.

    1. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find an argument against the fact that F1 is far deeper-rooted in japan than in malaysia, and growing interest in the sport there won’t be quite as simple.

  11. Right on Money Jay – I have made these very points on other forums. Having lived in Malaysia for couple of years, I suspect this is just another ploy of Politicians and Govt official to siphon off Tax payers monies.

    I have seen how Sepang circuit has no attendance for non F1 events and struggles to support itself. As you have rightly said, if indeed Govt is serious in increasing interest in Motorsports, the effort should be ground up by working on Junior Formulae and Karting series.

    Simply putting up big circuits is not the solution to create interest in the sport.
    Bernie/Max/CVC all know that but all they care for is their monies ( and votes in case of Max/FIA).

    Nicely written article

  12. Good article, Jay!

    Most of my thoughts have already been repeated by others before me, but here’s my two cents:

    If Proton want to enter F1 via Lotus, we can’t really stop them. But I hope they remember what Lotus was all about before. They were consummate innovators, and it was this spirit of innovation that won them 6 drivers titles, 7 constructors titles, and the Indy 500.

    Those are some VERY big shoes to fill. They must not disgrace the Lotus name.

  13. well written jay..i’m from malaysia too and it would be very hard and a very long story to convince most of you guys here what a bad idea this’s not that we are looking down on our government or country but we know them better..we know, as motorsports fans, that the malaysian government usually jumps the gun and puts their foot in their mouth..

    the idea of jumping headlong into F1 like that is not prudent..our previous PM Tun Mahathir brought F1 to malaysia to promote motorsports here and hopefully create a motorsports hub for the region but the government wasted the opportunity and a great deal of this idea of jumping into F1 is another idea cooked up by government officials with no proper thinking behind it..they just want the glamour and bragging rights..if they go ahead, it will die off pretty soon and bleed our money with it..

    i have told sepang management many times to focus on grassroots but the people running it are not even interested in motorsports, the government has too much of a hold on sepang..that’s what happens here, when politicians gets involved, our sports dies off..just look at football and badminton..

    petronas should just look to partner another somebody said, which team will turn down money?

  14. jay menon: “The next question that begs the answer is, why hasn’t the sport taken off in the country? Racing is not a part of our culture.” I totally agree.
    Racing culture cannot be bought.
    I believe the problem is that there are not enough races (kart, scooter, cars).
    Were I come from, we do not have to wait for the big corporation to organize a race. The owner of the workshop down the road wants to promote his new custom made exhaust and he organizes a race. The butcher,the petrol station etch, will pitch in with money or prices to get the event going and have some publicity on the local newspaper and properly organize a race.
    The kids registered with a racing team can participate provided they have (example) a scooter of x cc. Don’t need to brake the father bank account to register.
    And the same happens with bicycle races as well, motocross, volleyball, etch.
    If Malaysia really wants to promote the motor-sport, create a racing culture, the private sector must get involved to organize more competitions.
    Sepang with MotoGP, F1, Japanese GT series don’t mean anything to the kid that dreams to try racing.

  15. HounslowBusGarage
    8th September 2009, 22:52

    Well said (written) Jay Menon. Can’t be easy saying Malaysia isn’t ready yet, but we all appreciate your argument.
    Great article.

  16. For me as an Malaysian, I totally agree with Jay Menon and AlvinK. To own an F1 team is a big leap. Why not start with the promoting of the sport and racers. Moreover millions if not billions to waste let alone our basic transportation, karting school even basic schooling have a lot more room to improve.

  17. Great article indeed Jay- very good stuff!!

    I can agree with everyone who says that taxpayer money should not be used for such an operation. Indeed, for a sport where 100% of the funds go to a private equity company, there is zero taxpayer return. If the government wanted to encourage private investment in F1- including in an F1 team, fine. But for a national government to own and operate an F1 squad is a bit of of reach, don’t you think?

  18. Nursyahir (Malysian)
    11th September 2009, 8:42

    its me again..if u scroll up , you’ll see my comment.



  19. Kai ( malaysian)
    15th September 2009, 12:47

    this is the most insane idea i heard from my country goverment..
    this is totally not worth it. Myself is a F1 fan, but compare to other sports(football, badminton) Racing is just not popular in our country. And i accuse for the high expenses for rancing. There is just too little people that like it.

    Not to mention, where got you hear government sponsor F1…The money can be use in better places

    And more important, our cars ( PROTON) is a shame to the nation itself. Even i can admit.proton sucks( bad quality, cheap design, frequent break down). Our government say to increase the brand….
    increase the quality and there is still people buying it. Not to mention a lot of our engineering is stolen form mitsubishi.

    for me…this idea just sucks. and my government should use it money in better places…

    p/s dont tell me my government has nothing to do with it as they say lotus( lotus own by Proton which own by Malaysian Government).

    1. kai,you talk like you know everything about sport especially in talk proton’s products are bad but did you own one of them..what a pity,this type of malaysian really hard to keep them statisfied..

      as for me,i also think that malaysia join F1 is ridiculous but it still worth to try.talking about govt should use money in better places but do you know what places should govt use their funds for the best of malaysians?at least for some reasons malaysians still can see where the money going for sports.if not starting at this time then you tell me when the best time should govt starts this F! plan??

      meanwhile malaysianf1 team is not fully-funded by the govt,there a lot of malaysian private company agreed to join and share their money for the best of malaysian f1 team..cheers

      1. yes u are rite. anyhow for who those still mention “malaysia are not ready for F1” pls gimme ur right date.. when we ready? when right time? when should we? i think nobody can answer this. Support our country better than arguing on air.

    2. kai,you talk like you know everything about sport especially in talk proton’s products are bad but did you own one of them..what a pity,this type of malaysian really hard to keep them statisfied..

      as for me,i also think that malaysia join F1 is ridiculous but it still worth to try.talking about govt should use money in better places but do you know what places should govt use their funds for the best of malaysians?at least for some reasons malaysians still can see where the money going for sports.if not starting at this time then you tell me when the best time should govt starts this F1 plan??

      meanwhile malaysianf1 team is not fully-funded by the govt,there a lot of malaysian private company agreed to join and share their money for the best of malaysian f1 team..cheers

    3. say that Proton is a shame to the nation, and an overstatement. Have you been to countries like UK, Syria, Qatar, Egypt, Indonesia, Saudi ? If you have the opportunity to visit this countries, perhaps you may change your idea of Proton. You can see Proton cars are driven on the roads not by Malaysians, and even in UK it is driven by the policemen ( police department). When I saw that, I was so proud of being Malaysian !!!. You may argue for export qualities are good etc, but the fact remains that Proton cars are in some part of the world world competing with other brands. I agree with you, Proton is still long way to go, but with the new management I think they are on the right track. Just let the management thinks what is the best for Proton, and we as Malaysian wish them all the best !

  20. I agree with most of your article. However:
    “why not invest in improving Proton”
    you are going against the convention here..
    I believe people are sick of the g pouring money on Proton wastefully..
    194 million grant to cover 184 million loss in 08..

  21. Those who oppose the Malaysian Lotus F1 entry is because of the Government involvement in the most expensive motoring sport-millions and millions of dollars and no guarantee of returns to investors. Let the government be involved, spend and squander on the resources, the opposition parties would be too happy to use this as fodder for their election campaigns

  22. nizam (Malaysia)
    16th September 2009, 6:53

    Don’t know why malaysian hate their own product..not even support what ever other malaysian initiative..not to say about proton but other gov mega projects as well. I always look at +ve side of it. Don’t think as opposition, otherwise u will be always think _ve and we will not be as what we have now……

  23. Ariff (Malaysian)
    16th September 2009, 8:51

    i’d really like to see this article’s writer and those who play “hard Malaysian to satisfy” with the current achievement Malaysia have.
    Remember Petronas in its early days competing with giants from the US & Europe? Now Petronas are among those giant.
    Malaysian need to be pushed into the river for them to learn how to swim.
    This is what the government do. Push u, NOW SWIM!

  24. we need the money for other sectors lorh…using the rakyat’s money is a really bad idea la…if its a sole company, using up their own money, then its ok la….but if using the money that could be used for education, the health sector etc…if you want to continue with this project, continue la, but don’t go using the rakyat’s money la

    1. Hi Low Income Dude..I agree with you that money shall be spent on education, health etc. I do not think the government is ignoring that part, as far as I am concern. They are trying to promote these sectors. My only wish, the authorities to expedite these process and make our universities at par, good if not better than Harvard, Oxford even Nanyang University of Singapore. Hopefully, once we have inflow of income from foreign students, we shall seriously consider of making education affordable and accessible to all Malaysians. Healthcare? more shall be spent on prevention rather than curing efforts to all Malaysians.

  25. I admire the Malaysian courage! And what if, by the slimmest chance, Lotus succeeds in putting up a competitive entry? Woo hoo!

  26. Yes I know Malaysia is not ready for thier F1 team, but I luv to see Malaysian team in the race. I can’t wait for 2010 race… go Lotus F1!!!

  27. They’re wasting tax payers money! They are cheating all the rakyat by wasting money on F1. Sepang is a waste of money and this malaysian f1 team will also be a waste of money. A malaysian driver will be forced to drive this uncompetitive car and in the end, the whole world will laugh at us again! Not to mention its backed by PROTON! GOD! Even malaysians don’t buy proton cars. Who does proton think they are to join F1? Look at the other teams: Renault, Ferrari, McLaren, Toyota etc. Where does proton stand in comparison to those companies? NO WHERE!
    Not to mention that we’re in an economical crisis. Larger companies such as BMW and Honda are pulling out of F1, and along comes proton marching in like heroes! You’ve got to be either stupid or retarded. I think its a mixture of both!

    If the malaysian government thinks we’ll support them out of stupidity, they should think again! We will not be duped any more!

    As a malaysian, this is a disgrace to our country.
    There is a saying here that goes “Malaysia: Gaya mesti ada, Mutu tada takpa”

    “Penny-foolish pound-foolish”

    1. I agree with you, Honda, Toyota and BMW are pulling out from the sports, citing increase in cost, profitability and funding issues. However, those are BIG players in the world or automative industry with well established brand. How about Proton? Still long way to go. I still remember the same situation with Petronas. People are skeptical with their involvement in F1 but it helps in their branding, their overseas ventures and product development. Of course there are hiccups here and there,and it is normal. People around the world knows about Petronas more than they know Malaysia, unfortunately. In Proton case, I believe the management do have plans how the involvement helps in terms of product development, designing of good products, marketing of products, vendor development and the list goes on to enable them to compete with the Honda, BMW, Toyota alike. Give them a chance and time, they will go far. All I can say, all the best to the team and I know they will do the best for the team. Let them have a chance and prove themselves.

  28. EVEN in Malaysia , People like to buy cars like Naza, toyota instead of our own national car

    That is because people think foreign made goods are better, but they are wrong.


    1. Time to change :) and change shall start with oneself. Then, slowly influence the people around and close to us and get the circle of change bigger and bigger.

  29. 2 word.
    Local first.

    Why? If the most local only care like football.
    Why should they go for F1? Why not build up the local fan 1st in local motorsports. Like broadcast the Rally in malaysia or something.

    1. I agree with you. Football is another sport that authority shall look seriously at. We shall be aiming to qualify for the World Cup ,may be 2014 or 2022 and on and on. A good example is Morocco. Morocco become a global brand name for tourism because of they qualified during 1986 World Cup in Mexico. Football touches every groups of people, those pakcik, uncles, aunties, school children and may be aunties as compared to F1. However, F1 is going big and we shall have programs to stimulate young people and future generations interest not only in F1 but engineering, design, researches and sciences . It is chicken and egg situation, but it has to start somewhere. :)

  30. Thanks Jay for sharing your thoughts, and I have been reading the comment and feedback in relation to the article. Some of my views on the proposed venture are as follow :-

    1. The F1 infrastructures, especially the SIC circuit is already there- The cost, especially the overhead (e.g. maintenance, manpower, depreciation), associated to it is considered as sunk cost. What shall the government do? Do nothing ? or create something to add/create value of the existing facilities ? The challenges of those involved are how to make the proposed investment ( the wind tunnel, the R&D center) to recoup and eventually generate the return within the shortest time possible. Let us have faith on those people to make it happens, something that all Malaysians can be proud of.
    2. The spill over benefit of proposed venture -politically, economically and socially. With an estimated over millions of F1 viewers watching every race, it will promote Malaysia to the world. I relate to my personal experience. I had difficulty to explain Malaysia’s location to strangers (Normally I mentioned in between Thailand and Singapore), but now no more as they always associated with F1 and Petronas. The benefits might not be seen/felt now, or even after 10 years ( i.e. since 1999) but after all of us leave this world !Something that we leave for future generation !
    3. Branding and competitive advantage-Singapore introduced night race. Something unique where other F1 locations do not have even in Europe and North Africa. We have invested so much for the past 10 years, more and more countries ( even Indonesia and India) offers to have their very own F1 races and the fact that these 2 countries have billions of population and the domestic market is SO HUGE relative to Malaysia coupled with the fact that Malaysia F1 is struggling to attract the crowds during every race. Surely, as reported , it will be a threat to the Malaysian F1 very own existence as Malaysian F1 is like in any other locations except ” The Hottest Race ” due to its weather. Shall we let go the the rights ? Do nothing ? Perhaps all we need is to have a bigger picture and looks things outside the box.I am of the view, this project is an interesting development in the industry. Can we prove to the world that F1 is not an exorbitant and expensive affair ? That we can achieve success and glory with lower cost ? Something to think.
    4. World exposure to Proton, Air Asia, Naza and Malaysia. Why Petronas decided to join the F1 foray with Total, Mobil, SHELL, PetroBrazil alike ? Where does Petronas stands now in the eyes of the world ? With the right strategy and approach, it can do the same to the rest of other Malaysian brands especially Proton and Air Asia to go out and start venturing and dare to be different and Dare to fail ! That is the spirit of an entrepreneur and Air Asia and Proton does have a good records in proving the critics wrong !
    5. Waste on tax money – Why not consider it as an investment over long term and creating a brand and goodwill. We have not seen the result as yet, and we already said it as ” Waste of Tax Money ? ” How come ? Because of previous ventures ? Is it fair to generalised it ? Well, the government does have plan and allocation to develop other sectors close to our hearts such as the new train expansion program, the Iskandar Development, ECER, North Corridor Development, East Malaysia Corridor, 2nd Penang Bridge ( just to name a few. The challenges are the implementation and how fast we can see the result of those initiatives.
    6. Some critics may say that F1 investment is a waste and yet to see the tangible benefits to all Malaysians. There may be truthful in it, but more importantly is the way forward and how can we work together to rectify the weakness for the past 10 years, and make it a success one. Im of the view, the Malaysia F1 Team, is the second wave and next level of Malaysia F1 involvement.
    7. Why now when we are in economic recession and contraction ?My view, there is no time except now. It is stimulate the construction industry ( the construction of the F1 Centre in Sepang ), provide more job opportunities to aspiring young malaysians, bring Malaysia close to the world, beyond Malaysia Truly Asia codename and improve tourism industry and its associated spill over business, education opportunities, improve Proton’s products to be competitive with Toyota and Honda alike. Just to name a few. Entering the ” considered most expensive business” during hard/difficult time ( Discount from FIA perhaps )shall be seen as good strategy if compared during good times as FIA needs to survive to maintain its attractiveness as a result of BMW and Honda pulling out,and in addition we may have to pay premium during good times. It is all about timing.

    Decisions have been made and let us provide all the supports ( the least is moral support)to those who involve to make the venture profitable. Let us have trust on them. Prove the critics are all wrong as not many would like to see other people succeed I guess !

    To all parties, individuals who involve in the project, I HAVE TRUST IN YOU and my only hope and wish to them, DO MAKE EACH AND EVERYONE OF US PROUD TO BE MALAYSIAN ! I know what you are capable of !

    Are we ready ? Is Malaysia ready ? Malaysia is ready when Malaysians are ready !

  31. That is very inspiring, Eone.

    As they say, if there’s a will, there’s a way.

  32. Agree with the story. However I would add that QI Meritus Mahara is one of 3 motorsport teams out of Malaysia currently campaigning single seaters internationally if we omit Lotus F1. The other 2 are A1 Team Malaysia and Mofaz Fortec. The latter, owned by Mofaz competes in the World Series by Renault. If we consider which of these teams is the ‘proper’ Malaysian race team, the title would go to A1 Team Malaysia as they are the ones that employ the most local Malaysians in their team and are arguably the most successful in terms of results.

    There is doubt regarding Qi Meritus Mahara’s status as a Malaysian team because word in the local motorsport community is they had registered their GP2 team in Saudi and not in Malaysia under AAM.

    The best Malaysian personnel in single seater racing are with A1 Team Malaysia.

    There are only 3 Malaysian drivers that hold an International grade B race license or higher. Alex Yoong, Fairuz Fauzy and Aaron Lim. All 3 have driven for the national team in A1GP. Jazeman is still 3-4 years away from F1/A1GP/GP2.

  33. we do not need f1 team, stupid leaders ….

  34. Go proton Go for it….! Dont bother what people said. They are jealous of you.

  35. I used to be in those skeptical group,and any ideas mooted by the government or any groups , I considered it as a waste of tax payer money or a moron ideas. Then, I realized we are going nowhere if we remains the way we were. I agree with those opinions that when it comes to project implementation and implementation we have a lot of catching up to do, but we are getting there. All we require now is the right mindsets and right capability to make every venture a success ones. For every venture we shall talk about bottom line and how it will benefit the nations over long run. This venture will have long gestation period in terms of getting to the top. It may not be about F1 venture alone, but what this venture can bring about to the nation, Malaysia and other industries which include the talents development programs etc. I agree with what Datuk Tony Fernandez said , that we, Malaysians are capable lots and we shall be ready to compete with the rest. We are good if not better than any people from the rest of the world. Not to brag, but we are ! It is the time to put those creativity, capability and knowledge to the right things !We have to go BIG like Air Asia. Otherwise, we will be beaten by competitors , and timing is about everything, and the time is NOW.

  36. haha come on! malaysia f1 team?? government should spend money improving our country..not this stupid idea of f1 ==” look at our country! look at proton! look at the rapid! look at the 10years old cab wit amazing price! look at the cleanliness of public toilet! damn i think they are not concern about that also ==” i am a f1 fans too but i dont agree that it bring benefit to the nation! its a waste.. i am so sad that those leader are so childish minded to think so far…

    1. Sepang has struggled to attract large crowds to the Malaysian Grand Prix??? sure la.. its suck most to go sepang when f1 races… i tried once and the transport and service there sucks most! if tourist will be ther once they will think no more 2nd time!

  37. name is Rahimi.i’m 18 years old and from Malaysia.i started driving since i 14’s.I always driving fast but i cant show my ability because I never entered the circuit.where can i show my spirit to race..I hope you can guide me.
    thank you…

  38. hmmm for that u need to begin from the below.. which is normaly go kart will do and malaysia has many go kart sport but it means investment in$$$ haha. is not easy but dreams are made to be chase.. =P i dream to be one too but will never make it! haha cause no trust into it..

  39. Rahimi, first of all driving ‘fast’ does not mean you’re driving ‘well’. It’s actually quite the opposite unless you’ve had proper driver training and understand the basics of car control. If you have been driving ‘fast’ on public roads please stop doing so. I promise you once you’ve gone through lessons you will realize how much you didn’t know and how foolish and dangerous it is to race on public roads.

    If you want to show your ‘spirit to race’, go to go kart circuits and try out the fun karts first which is cheap and progress from there. Make friends there and you will receive plenty of advice. Try City Karting in Shah Alam. Google to know more. Over time you will learn how to express your interest, safely and competitively.

    You are likely too old to start a professional racing career in single seaters but if you want to know how F1 drivers start their journey read the following article on HOW TO BE A RACING DRIVER:

  40. yeah race fans.. u are absolutely right! driving fast does not benefit especialy on public road .. i learn my lesson b4 and nearly cause people life ! =P

  41. So what’s the response been like in KL of the team completing it’s first race? There’s been huge coverage in the UK, especially in Norfolk, where the Lotus team is based, with a great deal of excitement and hope for success.

  42. John,

    Unfortunately and sadly not so much excitement back in KL. I would expect the same excitement if not more, but I guess it is not the case.

    For one, I am always excited and immediately I told my friend that the team completed the race with my smile from one ear to another lol…Personally , I m proud of the team and would love to see them progressing well from one race to another. Realistically, I do not expect them to be at the podium any sooner, but if they can be labeled as the most consistent team in every race, thumbs up for them !

Comments are closed.