F1 »

Lotus 'a great brand' for F1

New Lotus F1 team manager Tony Fernandes believes a Malaysian-backed entry into Formula 1 is the next natural step for the nation to increase its involvement in the sport.

The iconic Norfolk-based manufacturer is destined to make a surprise return to the grid in 2010 having acquired the 13th and final position made available by BMW's withdrawal from the sport.

The project is being funded by the Malaysian government and a series of Malaysian organisations, including Lotus' parent company Proton Cars, and will be fronted by Fernandes, who successfully turned Air Asia into one of the continent's most prominent airlines.

Speaking to the New Zealand Herald newspaper, Fernandes is aware that Malaysia, which has hosted a grand prix at Sepang since 1999, has committed a lot of money and effort into Formula 1, but is yet to make an impact with 'drivers, engineers or management'.

"Malaysia has put a lot of money into F1, and it has a fantastic hardware - the Sepang track; universities with engineering courses; composite manufacture. But it doesn't have the soft side - drivers, engineers, management. I want to take that and build it up in F1.

"Proton owns Lotus Cars and they are great brands. Proton needs love and care, and I want to do with it what I did with Air Asia.”

Nonetheless, Fernandes, whose Air Asia brand currently adorns the Williams F1 cars, isn't entirely motivated by commercial interests, insisting he is a fan himself and that 'the right passion' is necessary for the team to succeed.

"It's all about the right people, the right passion, the right energy,” he says when asked whether disgraced former Renault boss Flavio Briatore would be welcomed. “I always look for hungry people, who really want to be with us."

"Do it because you love it, or don't be involved. Take underdeveloped marketing opportunities, monetise them, and bring back value to the community."

Meanwhile, Fernandes has told Reuters that he doesn't plan to remain at the helm of the team for much longer.

Explaining that he still has a commitment to Air Asia, he is planning to step down before the team's debut in Australia next season

"I am going to get it (the team) to a stage and then someone can do it full time, properly.

"My job is AirAsia and I just want to make sure that we (Lotus) have the right direction, the right imaging and the right future, the right strategic plan and marketing."

Tagged as: Malaysia , Proton , Lotus , Air Asia , fernandes , tony

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Lotus logo [Pic credit: Group Lotus plc]
F1 returns to Malaysia but this time in a September date
F1 returns to Malaysia, but this time it will be in September
29.05.2016 - Race, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E23
29.05.2016 - Cyril Abiteboul (FRA) Renault Sport F1 Managing Director, Frederic Vasseur (FRA) Renault Sport Formula One Team Racing Director and Tony Parker (FRA) Basketball player
29.05.2016 - Alain Prost and Tony Parker (FRA) Basketball player
29.05.2016 - Tony Parker (FRA) Basketball player
28.05.2016 - Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E23
26.05.2016 - Free Practice 1, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E23
20.03.2016 - Race, Air display
20.03.2016 - Race, Air display
20.03.2016 - Race, Air display
20.03.2016 - Race, Air display
20.03.2016 - Race, Air display
20.03.2016 - Air display
20.03.2016 - Air display
20.03.2016 - Air display
20.03.2016 - Air display

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.