MERITUS EYE F1 SEAT BY 2016 KUALA LUMPUR: Meritus Racing have an ambitious plan to be ready to compete in Formula 1 by 2016, making them the first South East Asian country to have an entry in the motorsports' biggest event, and they just might...
MERITUS EYE F1 SEAT BY 2016
KUALA LUMPUR: Meritus Racing have an ambitious plan to be ready to compete in Formula 1 by 2016, making them the first South East Asian country to have an entry in the motorsports' biggest event, and they just might do it, in a made-in Malaysia car.
The Malaysian national team have developed step by step in the Asian motorsport ladder, winning 32 internationals titles in just 12 years and have expanded to GP2 Asia, where they are the only Asian team granted a license to race in the series and have announced plans to expand their race engineering services to GP2 Europe by 2011.
GP2 Europe is the F1 development series for drivers and teams. One of the new F1 teams 'CamposF1 have spent the last four seasons of the series to train and develop their motorsport technology.
Meritus are very ambitious and their long-term plan is take a step-by-step approach to achieve their ultimate goal. 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.
Team boss Firhat Mokhzani said the ambitious plan, which has been fueled by the team's unprecedented successes since 1996, is within grasp as Asia's most successful motorsports team have been quietly setting up the blueprints which will see them race in Europe in two years time.
"Meritus are the only Asian team to be given an entry license to race in the GP2 Asia Series (and have invested RM25million to date) and this is partly because of our engineering success and our 32 Asian motorsport titles and dominating Formula BMW and Formula V6 series for the last six years. These are the Asian stepping stones to racing in the pinnacle of motorsports, Formula 1," explained Firhat.
"Malaysia and Asian motorsport offer a very cost effective ladder for drivers to step up from karting and provide all the career steps for ambitious drivers focusing on F1. The big difference for Asian families following a lucrative sporting career for their child is that these Asian steps are at least 50% cheaper than similar European ladders.
"Meritus are planning to expand our current GP2 Asian operations to include GP2 Europe by 2011. Our GP2 teams will basically be the Malaysian National F1 Development team as well as training our Malaysian race engineers.
"The first goal is to develop our Malaysian Motorsport engineering technology and to develop a sustainable Malaysian motorsport industry for the export of formula cars to the multi billion dollar motorsport markets in Europe and North America. This will provide a sustainable profit generating industry which will absorb the development costs to structure and develop an engineering design team.
"We would be honored one day to race as the National team in F1 and we hope to be ready to build our own F1 car with Malaysian engineers to achieve that goal by 2016."
Firhat when on to say: "The team have already helped drivers who have gone on to race in Formula 1. F1 pilots such as Narain Kartikeyan and Takuma Sato, Recardo Rossett were all Meritus graduates. In fact the ex McLaren F1 David Coulthard first tests in a slicks and wings formula car was with Meritus in 1990.
"Our 2003 Formula BMW champion, Hopin Tung tested a Williams F1 car and our own super star Jazeman Jaafar was invited by Sir Frank Williams to try the team's F1 simulator two years ago."
Firhat said all of these efforts have helped generate profit and global awareness for Malaysia but nothing would beat the exposure of developing a national team to race in Formula 1.
"However our feet are firmly on the ground and our short-term goal is simple, to win races in GP2 Asia and to have a go at winning the 2010 GP2 Asia
Championship. To do that, Meritus have already begun their search for top class drivers."
With the team in Firhat's capable hands, 2016 is a realistic target.
-credit: meritus racing