Lotus returns to F1 with �86m investment

An investment of �86m is being made to give Lotus a winning start to its return to Formula 1 next year, it emerged last night. The Malaysian consortium behind Lotus's return to racing after a 15- year absence said it would commit 168m ringgits (�30m) to starting-up the team - and set an annual racing budget of 308m ringgits (�56m).

An investment of �86m is being made to give Lotus a winning start to its return to Formula 1 next year, it emerged last night.

The Malaysian consortium behind Lotus's return to racing after a 15- year absence said it would commit 168m ringgits (�30m) to starting-up the team - and set an annual racing budget of 308m ringgits (�56m).

Lotus's return to the starting grid will create 250 jobs in Norfolk in the next six months at the Racing Technologies Norfolk (RTN) base at Hingham. The 50,000 sq ft RTN unit was built by Toyota for its initial F1 programme, and then Bentley for its successful Le Mans team, and is 10 miles from the Hethel factory of Lotus Cars.

The Lotus F1 Team has been set up under the holding company, 1Malaysia F1 Team, a joint venture between the government and Malaysian businesses, with support from the Motorsports Association of Malaysia, Naza Motor and Air Asia, plus Malaysian universities.


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Dato' Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir, managing director of Proton, Lotus's parent company, said: "We are very excited and supportive of this Malaysian initia-tive, and, through the impending licensing arrangement between Lotus and 1Malaysia F1, we are certain that the brand association will be beneficial to both Lotus and Proton as it will definitely heighten global brand awareness. At the same time, the Proton Group also hopes to capitalise on this opportunity from a technical and engineering aspect, particularly for Lotus, as the exposure from Formula 1 racing is invaluable, especially when Lotus is a renowned sports car manufacturer and a respectable engineering firm."

Team principal Tony Fernandes said: "Our creation of the 1Malaysia F1 Team is all about working together to give our youth the chance to be the leading engineers of tomorrow. This endeavour is a true Malaysian dream, fuelled by Malaysian pride and powered by Malaysian hopes and aspirations."

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