GP2 BOSS WELCOMES MERITUS IN EUROPE KUALA LUMPUR (AUG 25): GP2 CEO, Bruno Michel, has welcomed Meritus Racing's intention to race in Europe by 2011. The Malaysian outfit, who are the only Asian team granted a license to compete in GP2 Asia,...
GP2 BOSS WELCOMES MERITUS IN EUROPE
KUALA LUMPUR (AUG 25): GP2 CEO, Bruno Michel, has welcomed Meritus Racing's intention to race in Europe by 2011.
The Malaysian outfit, who are the only Asian team granted a license to compete in GP2 Asia, last week announced their plans to race in GP2 Europe in 2011 with an eye to be ready to compete in Formula One five years later.
That plan moved closer to becoming a reality when Michel said he would welcome Asia's most successful racing team - who have won an incredible 32 international titles since 1996 - with open arms.
"Meritus have a special place in GP2 Asia, and I would welcome in advance, not only their participation in the third year of the GP2 Asia Series, but also if they decided to come to the GP2 main series (in Europe)," said Michel.
"Meritus have integrated well in the new world of GP2 and have shown they can compete at the highest level, a level of motorsport that has produced champions like Nico Rosberg, Heikki Kovalainen and F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton."
As many are aware, GP2 is the F1 development series for drivers and teams. One of the new F1 teams 'CamposF1 have spent the last four GP2 Europe seasons training and developing their motorsport technology.
Meritus have similar aspirations and are taking a step-by-step approach to achieve their ultimate goal - to one day race in Formula 1.
The first step is to provide the necessary training to develop a National Malaysian Motorsport Technical (MMT) centre and establish a place of engineering excellence to train Malaysian engineers and technical staff ready to design and produce formula cars for export and hopefully to design a Malaysian F1 car by 2016.
Meritus have clearly impressed Michel with their ability to secure podium finishes and fastest laps in GP2 Asia, despite racing against established European teams, who have the added advantage of testing during the European season.
"I was very impressed with Meritus' first season. In the second season, the team for different reasons did not capitalise on their first podium in Shanghai. A pity and I hope they get the result they deserve in their third season with us," said Michel.
He added: "Meritus are a Malaysian-based team who have become the virtual ambassadors of Asian Motorsport while also having roots in the Middle East through your Saudi partner, Raad S. Abduljawad.
"It is this combination that gives them a natural advantage in the GP2 Asia Series. Their unique appeal of being Asian-based in Malaysia with Middle Eastern roots. Their participation with the European teams has turned the championship into a high level series where young drivers can put some mileage under their belts in the winter months."
Meritus have a reputation of unearthing talented drivers with F1 pilots such as Narain Kartikeyan, Takuma Sato and Recardo Rossett all Meritus graduates. Former McLaren F1 driver David Coulthard's first tests in a slicks and wings formula car was with Meritus in 1990.
As such, it doesn't seem far fetched that seven years from now, with proper planning and preparation, a Malaysia team could be in F1. With Michel's blessings, it could start with GP2 Europe in 2011.