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Published: Saturday September 26, 2009 MYT 12:04:00 PM
Updated: Saturday September 26, 2009 MYT 10:57:22 PM

No govt equity in 1Malaysia F1 Team project

SINGAPORE: The Government will hold no equity in the 1Malaysia F1 Team project, either directly or indirectly, through any of the government-linked companies.

Private investors will put in RM110mil to RM165mil a year, while sponsorship was expected to contribute a significant sum, according to team principal Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes.

He added that F1 had approached Petronas to sponsor the Lotus F1 team.

“Yes, we have spoken to them. We will also approach Malaysian Airlines, Genting Bhd and other organisations, he told a press conference at the Singapore F1 circuit yesterday.

“It would be good if they can sponsor us as they do not have a team for the next season,” Fernandes said.

Petronas’ sponsorship with BMW Sauber will expire this season.

Fernandes also said that the F1 team car would be ready in February for testing at the Sepang circuit.

They have also identified several young personalities who will be part of the team either as drivers or part of the crew.

Meanwhile, 1Malaysia F1 Sdn Bhd aims to employ 225 people and the job advertisements have been published this week in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

As for sponsorship in the current economic climate, it could come from Asia in the future, although Europe has been the traditional source of sponsorship, Fernandes said.

The team will have a start-up capital of RM168mil while its baseline annual budget is estimated at RM308mil, according to a statement it released on Friday.

The 1Malaysian F1 Team is a collaboration between the Government and three entrepreneurs — Fernandes, who is AirAsia Group CEO, AirAsia deputy CEO Kamarudin Meranun and Naza Group CEO SM Nasaruddin SM Nasimuddin.

The privately-funded project is jointly-owned by the Tune Group, Naza and Litespeed UK. Tune Group is jointly-owned by Fernandes and Kamarudin.

Proton Holdings’ British subsidiary, Lotus, is the team’s constructor.

In a statement, the team said Proton Holdings Bhd would license its Lotus brand to the 1Malaysia F1 Team (1MF1T).

The partnership license will include a variety of benefits for both Lotus and Proton involving technology transfer, marketing rights and employment opportunities, both within the national F1 Team, at the team’s technical centre in Sepang and its satellite base in Norfolk, United Kingdom, it said.

The team will collaborate with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS to help realise the aspiration of creating a growing class of high-technology and knowledge-intensive human capital for the country.

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