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Malaysian Grand Prix – Lotus First Home Race

by F1Fan on March 30, 2010

After mixed results in Melbourne Lotus Racing is looking forward to racing at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Owned by Tony Fernandes together with a conglomerate of Malay investors including the Malaysian Government the team thinks of the Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend as its home event and and making it even more special this will be the teams first ever race on the Sepang circuit.

The team is looking to make improvements on its overall performance from last weekend in Australia. While Heikki Kovalainen managed an impressive 13th place finish unfortunately Jarno Trulli’s car suffered Hydraulic Power Pack failure on the grid which the team was unable to repair it in time for Jarno to participate in the race, marking the first time Lotus did not have both cars finish the race.

After the Australian Grand Prix Tony Fernandes, Lotus Racing Team Principal summed it up this way:

“I guess we’ve got to have had some bad luck at some point and unfortunately it was today. I’m disappointed for Jarno, but Heikki did us proud – three places away from a point, and he was keeping pace with most of the other cars throughout the race. Maybe it would have been nice if three other cars had gone out so we could get a point, but, joking aside, it is good that at this stage of the season we’re already thinking about points. We’re in a nice position for Malaysia. We’re looking forward to going home, and really looking forward to giving our fans something to shout about.”

Like many of the other F1 teams, Lotus Racing is already in Malaysia, but none of the other teams were welcomed by such a homecoming celebration. Held at the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur all three Lotus drivers – Trulli, Kovalainen and Fauzy for the first time unveiled the Lotus Cosworth T127 to their many Malaysian fans. In attendance were Former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Youth and Sports Minister Dato’ Ahmad Shabery Cheek, joined by Lotus Racing Deputy Team Principals SM Nasarudin and Dato’ Kamarudin Meranun, Proton Holdings Berhad Group MD Dato’ Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohd Tahir, as well as Sepang International Circuit Chairman Dato’ Mokhzani Mahathir.

Talking about the teams return to Malaysia Deputy Team Principal SM Nasarudin said:

“We expect the race in Sepang this weekend to be another exciting outing for Lotus Racing. Heikki’s finish, just three places away from earning our first point in Melbourne, gives us a good boost for the coming race in Sepang.
This is truly the proudest moment for all of us to be here right in the heart of our capital city Kuala Lumpur, sharing this moment with all Malaysians and together we make it a Malaysia celebration. This is the much awaited homecoming for Lotus Racing, as this is the first time that the Lotus Cosworth T127 cars are on Malaysian soil. There is nothing like being on your own home ground.”

At the celebration today Lotus Racing also announced a new sponsor, “Maxis Berhad” a Malaysian telecommunications company. Announcing the sponsorship deal Sandip Das, Maxis Berhad Chief Executive Officer said,

“Maxis is pleased to broaden its sports involvement through the sponsorship of the Lotus Racing Team in Formula One™. This is the pride of the nation and as the leading and most innovative Malaysian Telco, which is also globally respected, we wanted to be a part of this wonderful Malaysia moment. Maxis’ commitment to Lotus Racing promises to deliver a more integrated F1™ experience to our customers with immediate access to the latest racing news and information via their mobile phones, wherever and whenever they want. In addition, lucky Maxis customers will have the exclusive opportunity of watching the Sepang Grand Prix live this coming weekend compliments of Maxis.”

It is great to see large Malay corporations getting behind the new Lotus F1 team and giving their support through sponsorship, obviously there is a lot of national pride in Lotus which Malaysian business leaders have recognized, its a pity that our US business leaders don’t seem to have the same nationalistic fervor and foresight. If just a couple of the large US Corporations had supported the USF1 effort early on we may have had a US team to support.

I guess CEO’s in the US are just focused on maximizing their stock options and bonus’s.

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