Dramatic Unveiling For Minardi's 2002 Team Colours KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, January 20, 2002 - With base-jumpers parachuting in from the nearby Petronas twin towers, an eye-popping pyrotechnic display and the arrival of three two-seater Formula...
Dramatic Unveiling For Minardi's 2002 Team Colours
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, January 20, 2002 - With base-jumpers parachuting in from the nearby Petronas twin towers, an eye-popping pyrotechnic display and the arrival of three two-seater Formula One cars in front of an estimated crowd of 60,000 people, the official unveiling in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday evening of the Minardi team's 2002 title sponsor was bound to be a memorable occasion.
The appearance of the first of the Grand Prix-type cars, as it raced up to a grandstand containing 600 VIP guests, including the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato' Seri Dr Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and the Minister of Youth and Sports, Dato' Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, revealed all. The distinctive new emblem of the "Go KL" campaign, incorporating the flag of the city of Kuala Lumpur, was clearly visible on the sidepods and engine cover of the gleaming black machine. Also proudly displayed on the car were the logos of Magnum Corporation Berhad and, for the first time, those of two new team partners, BSA and Admiral.
As the excited crowd looked on and pyrotechnics illuminated the Malaysian night sky, the uncompromising bark of more Formula One engines exploding into life heralded the arrival of two more cars - and judging by the helmet design, all three machines were being piloted by the country's first-ever Grand Prix driver, Alex Yoong! After the final car screeched to a halt, had its tyres changed in a simulated Formula One pit stop, and then tore off again, the engines fell silent, the drivers removed their helmets, and the mystery was solved. The Alex Yoong "driving doubles" had been none other than KL Minardi Asiatech boss, Paul Stoddart, and regular F1 two-seater driver, Rob Gray.
It had been a memorable finale to a memorable evening, but amid all the excitement of the occasion, Paul Stoddart made clear the longer-term significance of the event. "As a Grand Prix team owner, it's perhaps not surprising to discover that I believe the sport offers a platform for creating global awareness that is second to none," he commented. "In one way, the `Go KL' emblem that our team will carry proudly to Formula One races this year is a symbol of Kuala Lumpur's desire to let the world know that it is the gateway to a fast-growing centre for tourism, sport, international commerce and the development of high-technology industries.
"It is also, however, about providing a high-profile platform for this country's privately owned companies to market themselves globally. To the extent that the colours of two new Malaysian team partners, BSA and Admiral, can be seen alongside the distinctive logo of Magnum Corporation Berhad on the KL Minardi Asiatech cars, the initiative has already begun to succeed.
"I must also pay special tribute to Kuala Lumpur City Council and to the foresight and imagination of the Malaysian government. Their belief in, and enthusiasm for, the ability of Formula One to carry this country's message to the world, and to act as a catalyst to encourage the younger generation to aspire to higher levels of performance and excellence, marks them out as exceptionally forward-thinking leaders. They are focused not solely on short-term improvement, but rather on establishing the solid foundations necessary for the long-term economic and social prosperity of their people. It is an honourable and worthy goal, and one in which we at KL Minardi Asiatech are exceptionally proud to play at least a small part."