jazeman mercedes

Malaysia’s next great hope for Formula 1, 23-year-old Jazeman Jaafar, is in the midst of trying to secure a drive with one of the Mercedes–powered teams in next season’s calendar. The catch is, he needs at least RM63 million to secure the race seat.

Youth and Sports Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, has admitted that his ministry will not be able to bear the financial cost of supporting this dream, and is appealing to the private sector to make this aspiration a reality. Speaking to The Star, Khairy said Jazeman and his father have met him a few times to discuss the sponsorship issue, and he admits that even Petronas is tied up with other investments as well, amidst the drop in global oil prices.

“Honestly, we can’t afford to sponsor him on our own. He’ll need support from the private sector and as F1 is a money game and with the current economic situation, many companies are already not putting that much money in sports,” he added. Nonetheless, Khairy is adamant that he is totally committed to help Jazeman realise this dream, and that he just needs more time to find a way to achieve a solution.

Jazeman Jaafar is a product of the Petronas Talent Development Programme, and has since moved to the Formula Renault World Series in 2013. He is currently in third place in the Driver’s Championship, having notched his first win in the series at Monaco last May.