I don’t even know where to begin. This is just the stoopidest thing that I have heard today. Actually, I lie. It is the stoopidest idea that I have heard of for a long time, and I have heard a lot of dumb ideas in my life. Our country is planning to form a 1Malaysia Formula 1 team. Whoopee doo! Seriously. According to this article in TheStar, “the 1Malaysia F1 Team, a joint venture between the Government and private sector, will participate in the F1 race beginning next year.”
Formula one is an extremely competitive sport with high-budget teams competing against each other. According to the article, we have managed to secure the participation from several of our richest businessmen – Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and S.M. Nasarudin S.M. Nasimuddin. Alright, so maybe we have enough money to throw around and these people can secure some bragging rights to owning an F1 team.
Formula one runs at the cutting-edge of technology with the latest and greatest technology making its way into the cars. According to the article, industry and academia have signed up including Proton and Lotus, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS as well as Composite Technology Research Malaysia. Alright, so maybe we have the wherewithal to come up with the latest technologies.
Unfortunately, the article glazes over a few facts. Let’s look at the technical aspect of this entire venture.
We need an engine. PETRONAS worked on its own engine design at one time, the E01 but even Proton did not use that engine design. In the end, the team ended up using re-badged Ferrari engines as PETRONAS one. Maybe our F1Malaysia team will continue to use re-badged last season Ferrari engines and we will be none the wiser. This ensures that we will never win an races, but we would at least have enough engine power to get a good run around the track.
While Lotus were once kings of formula one, Team Lotus’ heydays were a long time ago. According to the wikipedia article, they were dominant players in Formula 1 during the 60s and 70s. I highly doubt that many members of the original successful team are still around today, much less actually still working at Lotus. All Lotus has now is a brand name and legacy to live up to. As for the chasis of the car, I don’t really know much about CTRM to speculate if they have the necessary technology to make things work.
And then the driver. Our own Alex Yoong had a short stint as a Formula One driver in which he was consistently out-classed by the rest. I was happy if he actually finished a race, even if he ended up coming in last. I’ve heard that we have another young driver currently competing in the F3 series and he might be upgraded to the F1 series with team F1Malaysia funding his super-license. So, with them two, we will at least have two drivers for the team.
Honestly, while I can see the F1Malaysia team actually happening, I highly doubt that it would be competitive enough. Even a well funded team, with the necessary motivation and drive as well as technology – Toyota – still struggled in F1. It is not an easy competition to break into. Unless of course, they know something that we don’t – like most of the major teams might be pulling out of the competition next year or something like that.