Although the 1Malaysia F1 Team would initially be based near Lotus’ hometown of Norfolk, there are plans to relocate to the Sepang International Circuit sometime in the future. Apparently the SIC has allocated between 8,000 to 12,000 hectres (er, this must be a misquote by MSM journos) of land for the F1 team’s headquarters. The site will be at the parking area before the tunnel to enter the podium building.
According to SIC CEO Razlan Razali, the HQ will be fully equipped with manufacturing and development facilities including a wind-tunnel and costs could be in the millions or even billions.
However he reiterated that these are just plans for now and it’s all only in preliminary stages. After the Raya holidays, the parties involved will sit together and have a discussion. He added that the team’s race machines could be ready in the matter of months, thanks to Lotus and other contractors and suppliers such as Cosworth, FondTech and Xtrac, who will supply the engine, aerodynamics and transmission respectively. They are not building from scratch.
Datuk Seri Najib clarified to the NST today that government support for the program would be through Proton. “If we want to export Proton and use Lotus engines, we need to show that our brand is strong and make sure they are well-known and accepted internationally. It is not merely about a sporting activity but major marketing for Proton and Malaysia,” said the PM. No figures were mentioned, as the PM said it was up to Proton to announce its involvement.
Whether you agree with this project or not, there’s no denying that everyone will be eagerly awaiting for two events in the future – the announcement of the drivers (expected to be on the 31st of October 2009), and the unveiling of the actual race machines. Word is that one will be Fairuz Fauzy and the other would be a foreigner with experience.