F1

Lotus F1 looks to GLCs for cash

KUALA LUMPUR: Lotus Formula One is still seeking sponsorship to help the new Malaysian team survive in its first season in 2010 in spite of a tight budget.

Launched two months ago as a collaboration between the Malaysian government, who hold no equity in the team, and a trio of entrepreneurs, Lotus insisted it had the means to compete.

A team director told Malaysia�s Bernama news agency the company would look to attract investors from various corporate bodies, including government-linked companies (GLCs).

�What is wrong with asking for sponsors from GLCs like Petronas?� said Kamarudin Meranun. �If Petronas can sponsor a foreign F1 team, why should the national petroleum company not sponsor a local team?�

Lotus�s start-up capital of around $47 million is a fraction of Ferrari�s budget, estimated at between $300 and $400 million.

However, Kamarudin insisted the team had a strategy to overcome its financial restrictions in spite of the recent departure of Toyota and BMW, following Honda�s exit last year.

Team principal Tony Fernandes�s ownership of Asia�s largest budget airline AirAsia would help lower the cost of moving equipment and crew members, he added.

Lotus are aiming for a roll out of the new car in mid-February to test it before the season opener in Bahrain in March.

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