SINGAPORE: The 1Malaysia F1 Team has already won a major fan in former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the man who brought F1 into Malaysia about 10 years ago.
The statesman spent about 30 minutes at the 1MF1T's Paddock Club Suite at the Singapore GP here during the main race on Sunday that was won by McLaren-Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.
Mahathir was briefed on the Lotus F1 car engine by the team's Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne.
1MF1T Principal, Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes together with Team Directors Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, SM Nasarudin SM Nasimudin and Zahari Ismail had earlier taken Mahathir on a tour of the Paddock and met with participating drivers and manufacturers.
Fernandes said: "Mahathir's presence gives a great boost to our team especially at this infancy stage. It was his passion towards F1 that inspired us to come up with the1Malaysia F1 Team".
"This endeavour is a true Malaysian dream, fuelled by Malaysian pride and powered by Malaysian hopes and aspirations. The 1Malaysia F1 Team is all about working together to give our youth the chance to be the leading engineers of tomorrow," he added.
Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek also spent some time at the 1MF1T Paddock Club Suite later.
He said that Malaysians should view the 1Malaysia F1 Team's participation in the 2010 F1 season as a source of pride and joy.
"The entire country should welcome the Lotus F1 Team's debut in F1 next year because it would take Malaysian motorsports to a different level at a time when the country needed it.
"Motorsports and in particular F1 racing, is no easy business. It takes courage, determination and of course the technical skills to put together a team to compete at the very highest level.
And the fact that we are determined to have a Malaysian team in F1 is ample proof of that," said the Minister.