Meritus Racing is bidding to become the first Asian team ever to join the Formula 1 grid, as it sets its sights on a graduation to the top flight in 2016.

The Malaysian outfit has claimed a staggering 32 Asian motorsport titles in the past twelve years, and has competed with success in Formula BMW Asia and Formula V6 Asia, as well as entering the first two editions of the GP2 Asia Series in 2008 and 2008/09 under the Qi-Meritus Mahara banner.

The objective now is to step up a notch to the main summer GP2 Series by 2011 and then F1 five years later, with one of the key goals being to develop motorsport engineering technology and promote and encourage a sustainable motorsport industry in Malaysia.

"We are currently the only Asian team granted a licence to race in the GP2 Asia Series and, by including the European series in the future, it will be a stepping stone towards F1," Meritus chief Firhat Mokhzani is quoted as having said by national newspaper the Malaysian Star

"Our ambitious plan, which has been fuelled by the team's unprecedented successes since 1996, is within grasp. We have been quietly setting up the blueprints which will see us race in Europe in two years' time.

"This will provide a sustainable profit-generating industry which will absorb the development costs to structure and develop an engineering design team. We would be honoured to one day race as the national team in F1, and we hope to be ready to build our own F1 car with Malaysian engineers by 2016."

There has been a Malaysian Grand Prix on the F1 calendar every year since 1999.

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