KUALA LUMPUR: The weather on race weekend is expected to be hot, but the Malaysian grid girls will be standing tall and elegantly attired in their race day baju kebayas.
“The girls have to look nice while at the same time feel comfortable, so we have used cotton linen for the kebaya with a tube top inside to absorb the sweat, while the sarong is made of satin silk and the shoes are open-toed to prevent sweating,” said Rizalman event manager Zuriee Ahmad during the costume launch yesterday at the Galeri Petronas in KLCC.
Malaysian baju kebaya specialist Rizalman Ibrahim has gone all out to ensure the girls reflect the country's heritage and culture while keeping a modern edge, in his first time as designer for the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix outfits.
“Most other F1 races do not really show their tradition on the grid with the girls normally wearing something funky or sexy, but here in Malaysia we are very proud of our heritage,” said Zuriee.
The designer also considered the fact that the girls had to work for around five to six hours under the hot sun while looking good. Petronas Motorsports representative Fadhil Kamaruddin said they were very satisfied with the design.
“The temperature on the track will be very hot, so we are pleased this factor has been taken into account to suit the weather,” he said.
Yesterday, racing fans gave the Sauber-Petronas team drivers an enthusiastic welcome as they gathered to see them in the flesh and get their autographs.
Some were so excited to meet Jacques Villeneuve and Felipe Massa that they waited patiently at Suria KLCC's concourse level for over two hours. Others had come from as far as Sabah and Sarawak for the chance to meet the drivers and catch this weekend's Grand Prix.
Two teachers, who wanted to be known only as Jacklyn, 30, and Angela, 29, who were both Sauber-Petronas fans had come from Miri and Kuching to watch the race and see their favourite drivers.
“We feel very excited to be going to the race and it means a lot to us to meet the drivers and get their autographs as they are our favourite drivers,” said Jacklyn.
Canadian student Jess Twinkle, 26, wanted nothing more than to meet up with Villeneuve – her favourite driver.
“I just wanted to meet him, shake his hand and tell him 'Go Canada' as both he and I are Canadian and, I felt that he should get some home support,” she said.
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