It would seem that Malaysia is once again, in the words of our Prime Minister Najib, raising its “profile on the world stage” by having it’s own team in Formula One next year. The first thought that hit me was this - if BMW has decided to wind down its Formula One Team after just four seasons in order to focus the resources that had been expended on the company's F1 program to the "development of new drive technologies and projects in the field of sustainability" why oh why must this fool rush in where angels fear to tread?
Here are the other headlines news that is relevant to this issue – relevant because it only serves to complicate matters and again confirm that the usual suspects are involved – Politics, ‘big business’ well known personalities and taking money from the Rakyat:
- “This is where the cars will be designed, manufactured and tested. It will be ‘Made-in-Malaysia, by Malaysians’ and of course, the pit-stops will be run by Malaysians,” he said. Najib.
- The company behind the team is a partnership between the Malaysian Government and a consortium of Malaysian entrepreneurs.
- The FIA has announced that a 13th slot has been awarded to the Malaysian-backed Lotus F1 Team. The BMW entry remains undecided, which means that Lotus will have to build its cars in England.
- The team will almost certainly be buying the Sauber operation in Hinwil and it is anticipated that the engines will be Ferraris.
- It will be announced later today that the Malaysian government will be funding a Formula 1 team in 2010 and that the entry has been granted.
- It is believed that the team will be funded by the automobile company Proton and will probably be called Team Lotus and be backed by Petronas money.
- “Our F1 team will also have technical experts from outside Malaysia to ensure that we are ready to compete on the world’s most prestigious racing stage.”
- Nicolas Todt, the son of FIA Presidential candidate Jean Todt, who is a partner in ART Grand Prix, the GP2 team that won the title last weekend with Nico Hulkenberg. Todt has the ambition to run an F1 but only in the right circumstances. His father in well connected in Malaysia thanks to his partner Michelle Yeoh.
- The company behind the team is a partnership between the Malaysian Government and a consortium of Malaysian entrepreneurs. The team will initially be based at the RTN facility in Norfolk. RTN was built by Toyota for its initial Formula One programme and then used by Bentley for its successful Le Mans programme.
- The team's future design, R&D, manufacturing and technical centre will be purpose built at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit.
- The team's technical director will be Mike Gascoyne. The team has agreed an engine supply deal with Cosworth and a wide variety of technical partnerships.
The usual suspects were paraded. Funded by Proton and backed by Petronas money. Funded by the Government!
Is this going to be another MV Augusta situation? Has not Proton learned a lesson from its disastrous Euro 70 million ‘investment’ in MV Agusta then under administration which was explained to us layman as being Protons mother of all business coup to enable Proton to “tap into MV Agusta group’s styling ability; technical expertise and well-developed distribution network” as Proton then CEO Tengku Mahleel was quoted as saying in June 2004.
Less then a year later Proton sold their 59% stake in MV Agusta for One Euro and yet a year later Harley Davidson Inc bought MV Agusta for US109million.
Logic tells me that if BMW lasted four years in Formula One – how long will we last? I say WE because if Proton and Petronas money are involved then it is OUR money –and we should have a say in whether we should go into Formula One or not. The other “investor” has all made their money off the Rakyat in those few short years that they have been in “business”.
It is no great secret that Formula 1 is a sport for the rich and money is the only master of the game. Dollars are counted in the hundreds of millions. Do we need the distraction of Formula One seeing the state our country is in? Why not use whatever money Proton has now to give us a better and cheaper car that more Malaysians can afford to buy? Why not use Petronas money for Malaysian. The people of Kelantan could use some money now. There are enough poor in Malaysia that would have need of the money that Petronas will spend on Formula One. But as usual our Government will not allow the loss of hundreds of our millions of Ringgit to get in the way of raising THEIR profile on the world stage.