Thursday, 7 April 2011

The 2011 Malaysian F1 Grand Prix A Special One For Malaysians

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 (Bernama) -- The upcoming 2011 Petronas Malaysia F1 Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit will indeed be a special one for Malaysians as three Formula One (F1) teams are 'carrying' the Malaysian flag.

"F1 has always been a special event for Malaysia. This year, however, it is even more extraordinary," said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in reference to the alliance of Malaysian corporate companies with F1 teams --Mercedes GP Petronas, Lotus Renault GP and Team Lotus.

"Never has the event been associated with so many Malaysian companies; making the 2011 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix and Sepang Circuit as their 'home race' this season," said Najib in a message in the event's official programme book, and quoted in a statement released by race promoter Sepang International Circuit Sdn Bhd.

Najib said Malaysia's interest and its glorious image would be prominently projected this year, throughout all the rounds across the globe, through the participation of Mercedes GP Petronas, Lotus Renault GP and Team Lotus.

This year marks the 13th edition of the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix which started in 1999 when it was first developed as a tourism tool to sell Malaysia as an international destination and a national agenda to uplift the country's image worldwide.

Formula 1, the world's most prestigious motorsports event and Malaysia's tool in promoting the country for so long, is now adopted by more Malaysian companies as their business tools, as well," he said, adding that before Sepang Circuit came into the picture in 1999, Malaysia had Tourism Malaysia riding the popularity of the Stewart Grand Prix team in 1997.

Before that, Petronas became the presenting sponsor for Red Bull Sauber in 1995 and over the years, the national petroleum company expanded further its investment in the sports, including becoming the title sponsor for the Malaysian race and deeper involvement in the F1 racing teams.

"With an extensive global audience; reaching hundreds of millions, televisions on Race Day alone, the sport is undoubtedly, the most effective platform for international mileage and worldwide recognition.

"Apart from global branding, it's also the place for business networking, a stage to showcase a country; and an engine for transfer of technology. As such, for Malaysia, as a nation aspiring to be a major player in the automotive industry, its deep association with Formula 1 is only natural," said Najib.

The new F1 season opened at Albert Park in Melbourne with the Australian Grand Prix on March 27 and Malaysia will host Round 2 of the 2011 F1 World Championship, which now runs for 19 rounds with the cancellation of Bahrain Grand Prix.

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