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Malaysians pushing for Lotus F1 entry

By Jonathan Noble Thursday, September 3rd 2009, 14:58 GMT


A consortium backed by the Malaysian government is pushing hard for Lotus to beat BMW Sauber to the final slot in next year's Formula 1 world championship, AUTOSPORT has learned.

BMW Sauber chiefs have been looking for a buyer to secure the team's future, and there has been speculation that the outfit's Malaysian backers could support a buyout bid.

However, AUTOSPORT understands that the sponsors are instead close to throwing their support behind the totally new team that will use the Lotus name.

AUTOSPORT understands that the Malaysian government is keen to continue the promotion of its oil company Petronas in F1, but also start delivering a higher profile for the Lotus company name - which is owned by Malaysia's national car maker Proton.

The push for the Lotus name in F1 could also be boosted by the arrival of former Ferrari brand guru Dany Bahar as the company's new CEO, although it is believed his appointment at the current time is coincidental and not linked to the F1 plans.

Lotus's ambitions are being spearheaded by respected technical chief Mike Gascoyne, whose original Lotus team linked with the Litespeed operation were widely talked about earlier this year.

Malaysia's Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek refused to deny talk that the government is looking at its involvement in the team when speaking to local media yesterday.

"Nothing has been finalised and there's nothing to comment," he told the Malay Mail. "I'm not confirming, neither am I saying otherwise."

Shabery also did not rule out that an announcement about the team's plans was scheduled to be made after the Singapore Grand Prix later this month by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He said: "Let's wait for the PM to make the announcement. Who knows what will happen after the Singapore GP."

The FIA is currently evaluating the entries for the 13th team in F1, with an announcement expected in the next few weeks.
 

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Interesting. At least it would appear that this new incarnation would have some link to the manufacturer, unlike the Litespeed entry proposed a couple months ago.
 

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i would much rather see lotus WIN in Lemans, then be fodder in F1. The ONLY way Lotus could make a go of it in F1 is if they spent only someone else's money... not sure they will find someone willing to put THAT much into it for no real good reason?

i think lotus is on a bit of a roll right now - why screw it up by getting into the mess that is F1?
 

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But if you read that article that is exactly what is happening. The Malaysian government wants to promote their Petronas oil brand in F1, and they want to do it while also promoting their Lotus sports car brand. Thus, they would be the ones spending the money and bringing Lotus along for the ride.
 

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But if you read that article that is exactly what is happening. The Malaysian government wants to promote their Petronas oil brand in F1, and they want to do it while also promoting their Lotus sports car brand. Thus, they would be the ones spending the money and bringing Lotus along for the ride.
And as the saying goes, any publicity is good publicity. :up:
 

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This is great news :clap:. Lets all hope that this will indeed happen.
 

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But if you read that article that is exactly what is happening. The Malaysian government wants to promote their Petronas oil brand in F1, and they want to do it while also promoting their Lotus sports car brand. Thus, they would be the ones spending the money and bringing Lotus along for the ride.

yeah i get that, i guess i am just not convinced thoose suiters are prepared to flush that much money, for that long down the drain. but... maybe?! i just have a vision of the money drying up exponetially over 5 years.

classic F1 - just as the team is getting their act together, the funding drops off and they have to cut what they spent years building...
 

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Interesting. If BMW won't supplies engines does that strengthen the Toyota connection?
I kind of like the idea of a Lotus-Toyota F1 car...

Who knows? If they were successful, in a few years people would be asking: "Lotus... are they made by Toyota?" instead of Ford...
 

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I kind of like the idea of a Lotus-Toyota F1 car...

Who knows? If they were successful, in a few years people would be asking: "Lotus... are they made by Toyota?" instead of Ford...
During the Turbo Era Lotus (and during the first era of Lotus Toyota association) Lotus were asked by Toyota to develope a 1.5L Turbo F1 engine and actually developed a functioning prototype that developed 2000hp before the project was dropped.
 

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Based on the news stories, the Malaysians (Petronas and Proton) have the money and seem to have the desire to have a presence in F1. This, combined with Proton's ownership of Lotus and new Lotus CEO Dany Bahar's background, indicate that the planets are lining up to give Lotus its best shot to returning to F1. Screw BMW, stick with your tried and true partner Toyota.
 
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