WELCOME to the seventh issue of the A1 Team Malaysia Newsletter.
We're looking forward with great enthusiasm and optimism to 2009 and in this latest newsletter we'll give you a little insight into our hopes and aspirations for the 2009 leg of the fourth season of the A1GP Series.
There is plenty of news to catch up on in this edition including the team's New Year resolutions, an update from our Chief Executive, Jack Cunningham, as well as news and latest happenings from within the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.
Finally, we'd like to wish all our fans a very Happy New Year!
The Commercial Team
NEW YEAR'S GREETINGS FROM OUR CHIEF EXECUTIVE
Partners, friends and fans,
Happy New Year!
I think we're all aware of the challenges ahead for all of us in the next few months, not least of all for A1 Team Malaysia in the 2008/09 A1GP Series. When we look back on 2008, we do so with mixed emotions. Finishing 15th last season was disappointing but that's all behind us now and we certainly have plenty of renewed optimism for this season after a great start.
The team led the Series points standings for the first time in 2008 and we currently sit in fifth place in the World Cup standings. There is plenty of racing yet to come and we're aiming to regain ground over the course of the seven rounds remaining this season.
The last round, which was our home race in Sepang, will always be a poignant reminder of the challenges of top flight racing. We should have had a third place finish and be second in the overall standings, but freak circumstances leave us in fifth place.
The Sepang event also gave us so much to be proud of. A crowd of over 47,000 fans came to the track to support us. We are very proud of this overwhelming support and it was definitely the high point so far in the season for us.
We hope that we can bring pride to Malaysia and to all the supporters this season with more great racing and strong results. Keep watching!
RADIO GLITCH SCUPPERS SEPANG PODIUM
Everyone in A1 Team Malaysia rues the complexities of top level racing when looking back at the Sepang Feature race. A certain third-placed podium finish was scuppered by a radio transmission glitch which resulted in Fairuz Fauzy making an unnecessary pitstop.
Much has been written and rumoured about the incident but, to set the record straight, the team investigations all point to Fairuz hearing a radio instruction which Team GBR issued to their driver. We're led to believe that this type of problem is extremely rare, particularly in A1GP but, after suffering from it, we've now heard of some F1 teams getting radio interference from taxi drivers outside the circuit when racing in Brazil!
Whilst we can't change the record books we will make all efforts within our power to ensure that it doesn't happen again. Our radio system supplier has confirmed that they will be addressing the issue to ensure this.
It was disappointing that this incident took the spotlight away from two superb drives by Fairuz who finished the Feature race in tenth place, claiming another World Cup point which could be critical to our final position at the end of the season.
TEAM SUPPORTS NEW PLUS LOYALTY CARD
A1 Team Malaysia commercial partner, PLUS EXPRESSWAYS BERHAD, held a special launch event for their new loyalty programme, which was attended by race team members.
Our rookie driver, Aaron Lim, was among five celebrities who were the first recipients of the "PLUSmiles" loyalty card. PLUS is the first highway concessionaire in Asia to introduce such a loyalty programme aimed at rewarding loyal customers of the PLUS and ELITE highways for their continuous support.
Lim joined a host of VIPs at the launch ceremony held at the Sungai Buloh Overhead Bridge Restaurant including Malaysia's First Lady of Song, Datuk Sharifah Aini, North- South Pole explorer Datin Paduka Sharifah Mazlina, and popular recording artiste/composer, Faizal Tahir.
NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS
The team has put together a list of ten New Year resolutions that they aim to fulfil in the next 12 months so we thought we would share these with you.
1. Quicker pitstops
2. Better fitness
3. Stronger Team Building
4. Grabbing more headlines for our partners
5. Extending the Outreach programme
6. Beat our Sepang attendance record
7. More Malaysian focused fan activities
8. Win another A1GP Award
9. Recruit more fans to support A1 Team Malaysia
10. Win more races
The team aims to increase its 30,000 fanbase further during the forthcoming year and hopefully in another 12 months there will be in excess of 50,000 members. Sign up now and help us achieve this resolution!
FAIRUZ STARS ON STAMPS
A1 Team Malaysia driver, Fairuz Fauzy, features on a special stamp issued to commemorate the Malaysian driver's first victory in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. The stamp was launched at the team's home round of the A1GP Series at the Sepang circuit.
This souvenir stamp is supplied with a special envelope which depicts the A1 Team Malaysia car and Fauzy celebrating his maiden A1GP victory at the opening round of this season in Zandvoort, Netherlands. The stamp and envelope set is a available in a limited edition of 50,000 pieces.
Fauzy explained, "The idea of producing a celebration stamp was put to me when I arrived in Malaysia after the China round of the Series. Within two days this idea had been turned into reality and I was holding this very special collector's edition stamp set. I'm very proud to have my image on a genuine postage stamp; it's a very different item of memorabilia, and I hope our race fans will like this."
A1GP BOSS APPLAUDS SEPANG EVENT
Following the Sepang event, A1 Team Malaysia pinned down A1GP Chief Executive Officer, Pete da Silva, for his thoughts on the race weekend, the future of A1GP and other topics.
Da Silva was delighted with the Sepang event saying, "I believe it went very well. The crowd was the biggest we've had (at Sepang) so far. We had close racing and the only unfortunate thing was the problem the team had with the radio." Of the Malaysian crowd he added, "It is a pleasure to see such fans at a race. They came in their droves and supported their team. This is what we always want to see at our races."
The importance of Asia to the Series is high on the agenda for Da Silva. He says, "The Middle East and Asian markets are very important for the growth of our series. We see this as the area where we shall see the greatest growth in TV viewers and spectators and are very aware from the web site traffic from this area just how important it is. We want to add new countries and events from these markets to our series."
The chief of the Series also alluded to two new teams joining for the fifth season and an expansion of the calendar into new countries. The full interview with Da Silva is available on the team website.
Want to see more A1GP action LIVE?
A1GP will race at Lippo Village close to Jakarta from 6 -- 8 February. There are plenty of airlines flying to the Indonesian capital so come and support us and witness the race at this new street circuit constructed especially for the A1GP event.