PERFECT PARTNERSHIP SET TO LEAD MY QI-MERITUS.MAHARA TO SUCCESS SEPANG: They started their relationship as master and student but now, they are team-mates who are determined to bring the GP2 Asia Series team title to Malaysia. Alex Yoong,...
PERFECT PARTNERSHIP SET TO LEAD MY QI-MERITUS.MAHARA TO SUCCESS
SEPANG: They started their relationship as master and student but now, they are team-mates who are determined to bring the GP2 Asia Series team title to Malaysia.
Alex Yoong, Malaysia's most successful racing driver and the country's only Formula One pilot, first got to know Earl Bamber three years ago when the New Zealander was just 15.
Bamber, who was talent spotted by My Qi-Meritus.Mahara in 2004 when he was still karting, was ready to make the step up to Formula BMW Asia after a year of nurturing by the Malaysian team.
Knowing full well that Bamber needed an experienced head to guide him before his big debut, Yoong was roped in to help fine tuned the Kiwi's driving skills.
It was a perfect partnership as Bamber absorbed all of Yoong's knowledge and in 2006, stunned the racing world by winning the Formula BMW Asia drivers' title by claiming 10 victories in a dominant season. He was still only 16 at the time.
"When I first met Earl, I knew there was something special about him," recalled Yoong. "My Qi-Meritus.Mahara have a long history of nurturing motorsports champions but Earl was a different class even as a 15-year-old.
"We worked closely for nearly a year before his stunning success in Formula BMW Asia in 2006. He certainly has a bright future ahead of him and his results over the past three years have shown he has the potential to be in Formula One.
"It seems a little strange that we are now team-mates but we are comfortable with each other and I believe we have what it takes to win the team championship for My Qi-Meritus.Mahara."
It has been a busy year for Bamber as he has competed in International Formula Master, Formula Master Italy, the Australian Formula 3 Championship, Formula V6 Asia (where he is leading the championship) and Toyota Racing Series New Zealand in which he finished runner up.
Bamber's competitive performance also attracted the attention of A1 Grand Prix where he has represented his country in the 2008-9 season, finishing his first two races on the podium.
In the GP2 Asia Series, he stunned the more experienced drivers by scoring points in both races at last month's Chinese Formula One Grand Prix (where the GP2 Series was a support rac) including finishing second in Round 2, making him the youngest ever driver in GP2 history to have a podium finish.
Success, however, has not increase the size of Bamber's ego. He has a surprisingly mature head on his young shoulders and while he can be as playful as any 18-year-old, he never shrugs his responsibilities when it comes to staying fit.
Having won a quarter of all the races he has competed in, Bamber knows he has the speed and the skill to reach the very top of the motorsport world. But he is also wise enough to know he can't get anywhere without discipline.
"Talent and determination can only get you so far in the sport. A driver must also have an iron will and the discipline to stick to a strict training regime," said Bamber.
"There may be days where I may not feel like training but I don't give in to the temptation. I also stay away from junk food, although I do love drinking Coca-Cola. I guess that's my only vice.
"I'm also lucky to be racing for My Qi-Meritus.Mahara, who have a history of creating champions. Part of the reason for their success over the last 12 years is because they treat their drivers as part of the family.
"They take care of our all needs and this helps us to concentrate and stay focus on driving. My Qi-Meritus.Mahara have taken me from a small town in New Zealand into the winners' circle in motorsports. It has been a perfect partnership and long may it continue."
On the GP2 Asia Series, Bamber said that while he will be looking to build on his stunning start, it is the team championship which matters.
"We are the only Asian team on the grid but we have big ambitions. Our main goal this season is to win the team title. I believe we are on the right track," said a confident Bamber.
"The GP2 Series is without doubt, the hardest championship I have raced in but the China results have given my confidence a big boost. I'm sure My Qi-Meritus.Mahara can challenge for the team title."
Joachim Steffen, Qi GP2 Project Director said Bamber's rise to stardom is similar to how QuestNet help their Independent Representatives.
"QuestNet are in the business of helping people who want to change their lives. We nurture people by giving them an opportunity to manage and benefit from a business that runs through e-commerce. To help them, we give them training and development tools to accelerate their quest for success," he explained during the launch of the team at Sepang International Circuit today.
"This is the similarity that we have with how Meritus develop Earl Bamber -- from cradle to podium. Earl Bamber started with Meritus about four years ago and since then, he has been winning races in a lot of championships such A1, where he raced for his home country, New Zealand.
"QuestNet provide the same support and share the same passion with Meritus in helping our Independent Representatives and their drivers, and in this case, Bamber to reach the top. This is the synergy we have with Meritus in building champions in our respective industries."