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6 December 2009

Lotus F1 Racing Announce more Senior Appointments

Strategic affiliation for long-term driver development strategy towards eventual World Champion


Lotus F1 Racing today announced more senior appointments as it gears up for its debut season in the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

Mia Sharizman Ismail, currently CEO of the Motorsports Association of Malaysia (MAM), will be joining Lotus F1 Racing as its Head of Operations (Asia). He will oversee selected areas of the team's operations that include promoting and nurturing alliances with motorsports bodies in the region. Mia Sharizman is also tasked with understudying the Lotus F1 race operations currently based in the UK with the aim of transferring knowledge and expertise back to Malaysia.

At the same time, as part of its efforts to develop a full-fledged young driver programme for its future development, Lotus F1 Racing have also appointed former Malaysian F1 driver Alex Yoong as Head of Driver Development (Asia) alongside Nino Judge, the Team Principal of the UK-based Litespeed Formula 3 team, as Head of Driver Development (Europe).

Yoong and Judge will co-head Lotus F1 Racing's driver development programme that aims at nurturing up-and-coming driving talent in Malaysia as well as the Asian region and Europe. The programme is via an affiliation with Litespeed which have over 25 years experience running racing outfits at varying levels.

Lotus F1 Racing Team Principal Dato' Sri Tony Fernandes said: "These new senior appointments will be a great boost for Lotus F1 Racing. The team have achieved many important milestones and we are on track to be on the grid in Bahrain next year. We are very excited with the new driver development programme as we look to the future and plan long-term strategy to eventually become world champion."

Lotus F1 Racing CEO Riad Asmat said: "The young driver development scheme will play a key role in finding and developing future Malaysian drivers and it is great that Litespeed can play such an important role in that process. There is a lot of raw motorsport talent in Malaysia and as the country's national Formula 1 team, it is our responsibility to bring that to the fore. We have to encourage more parents to get their children into karting but the most crucial step is a direction and stage for our national karting talent to go next. Lotus F1 Racing's driver development programme will serve as a ladder for those Malaysian rising stars to reach their full potential and even Formula 1."

Nino Judge, Lotus F1 Racing Head of Driver Development (Europe) and Litespeed UK Team Principal said: "It is an honour for Litespeed to be affiliated with the Lotus F1 Racing team. Even before they have competed in their first race, they are laying important foundations for the future, of which we are thrilled to play a part. We can provide an important platform for both experienced drivers and up and coming Malaysian drivers to progress their careers. Many Formula 1 stars have made their name racing in Formula 3, so we can give the rare opportunity to young Malaysians to hone their talents in a competitive European series and to allow them to fulfil their full potential. Ultimately this may also mean an F1 test for any exceptionally talented drivers competing in the British F3 Championship with Litespeed. This, combined with the benefits Litespeed will receive from technical collaboration with the Lotus F1 Racing team, makes this an extremely exciting affiliation."

Lotus F1 Racing is operated by 1Malaysia Racing Team Sdn Bhd.

The team are placed 18th and 19th in the full entry list of constructors and drivers announced by the FIA on 30 November. Lotus F1 Racing are still in talks with potential drivers and will make an announcement soon.

Announced by the Prime Minister of Malaysia Dato' Sri Najib Tun Razak in September 2009, Lotus F1 Racing will be one the new additions to the FIA Formula 1 World Championship in 2010 and will bring the legendary Lotus name back into Formula 1 for the first time in over 15 years.

Lotus F1 Racing will be flying the Malaysian flag in the championship with full support from the Malaysian Government and its 1Malaysia initiative. The team is fully financed by Malaysian entrepreneurs, which gives the team a strong Malaysian character throughout all areas of its operation.

Commenting on their appointments...

Mia Sharizman, Head of Operations (Asia) said: "I am delighted with this appointment. I look forward to contributing to the team's growth and achieving its targets. I share the enthusiasm and optimism of the team to see the Lotus F1 cars on the grid in Bahrain in March 2010. Together we will strive to ensure its progress and success. I see this as a very steep learning curve but we will prove that Malaysians too can compete on the world stage."

Alex Yoong, Head of Driver Development (Asia) said: "I am very pleased to be joining Lotus F1, as it is a team with an exciting future. There is so much talent here in this region, and I am looking forward to the challenge of identifying and grooming these young drivers so that one day Malaysia and Asia have a Formula 1 world champion."