Last Tuesday, the PM announced the 1Malaysia F1 Team, to participate in the F1 races from 2010. It had caught many of us by surprise as this is a big big matter, committing the country for years to come. Malaysia in its own style previously had made in-roads to the F1 through Petronas, Minardi and in some ways lately, Air Asia. All these were only pieces of the action but not a lead role.
This announcement does not "leap frog" us, rather it is a quantum leap into the F1 races. This is not small bucks and the expected costs is around RM 1.0 billion per year. There is no doubt that the figure is going to make everyone open all their "senses" and permit their mind to go into "mental gymnastics". Many questions would race through everyone minds and most would be "dumb founded" with the cost elements.
As the PM announced, this is a joint public -private sector collaboration with the national car manufacturer Proton, playing a major role through its Lotus outfit. Lotus is a known name in the racing world for decades and therefore their experience should hold the 1Malaysia F1 Team in steadfast. With Air Asia's Tony Fernandes as the principal officer for the Team, the PM has obviously recognised Tony's track record to head such a glamorous project. Mind you Tony is probably the "king" for the "branding" business. Air Asia and its various Tunes outfits are a manifestation of Tony's acumen in such competitive environment. The F1 is probably that sort of arena and there cannot be a better person than Tony.
Admittedly, the cost is high and there is always the question whether Malaysia can afford such a venture. More so as some of the reputed car manufacturers are also pulling off the F1 races. Firstly, the fearful would never take the risk and therefore progress shall never be seen. Of course the mad would just dive in and waste the funds. That may be true but the people behind 1Malaysia F1 Team are no small names and they on their own right have made the "impossible possible".
Further and logically this is the best time to get in especially when there already exists vacancies. One must grab the opportunities when they arise and this opportunity was staring in Malaysia's eyes. It is important that we should not sit on our laurels just because Malaysia already has the Sepang Circuit and the F1 race. To enhance Malaysia's long term sustainability of ensuring we remain hosts to F1 races, the 1Malaysia F1 Team in way guarantees our continuous involvement. This is essentially is a strategic move combined with forward thinking.
Strategic move and forward thinking has come into play with the idea of developing Sepang to be the ultimate home base for 1Malaysia F1 Team. This Vision cannot be disputed as it becomes the foundation of developing Malaysians to all the related skills in the automobile industry. In the initial years we started as assemblers, then making cars and now through the 1Malaysia F1 Team we are upgrading our skills by leaps and bounds to the ultimate in the motor industry. That itself is a price but it sets the country and its future vehicles in good position into the export market. The journey is not easy but yet ours is a young society and with the such an opportunity we should succeed.
It is no more a dream, rather a fact that it is going to happen. It is how our young Malaysians are going to position themselves as potential drivers, engineers, research experts, safety personnel, mechanics to the marketing boys. We shall be grooming another set of people into a new arena that is so glamorous that everyone wants to be part of it.
I did not write of the obvious benefits from tourism to marketing the country as they are known facts. The F1 team would put the "multiplier" effect even at a higher scale to all sorts of other things including more variety of motor races. In all these it is the Malaysian brand that is ultimately going to sell. This F1 team would put Malaysia on the map like Air Asia as another lead brand thereby setting all other brands from Malaysia to be easily recognisable and acceptable.
IT IS GOING TO BIG AND REALLY BIG BEYOND THE IMAGINATION OF MANY. IT IS NOT A DREAM BUT A REALISATION OF A DREAM THAT TAKES THE COUNTRY TO VARIOUS CORNERS OF THE WORLD AND LITERALLY INTO EVERYONE HOUSES WITH ALL WHAT WE HAVE TO OFFER. THAT IS WHAT 1MALAYSIA F1 TEAM IS GOING TO START BRINGING FOR US MALAYSIANS. LETS ALL BE PART OF IT AS 1MALAYSIA, AS THERE IS ROOM FOR ALL OF US.