Meritus Racing has an ambitious plan to be ready to compete in Formula One by 2016, making them the first South East Asian country to have an entry in the motorsports' biggest event. The Malaysian team have developed step by step in the Asian motorsport ladder, winning 32 internationals titles in just 12 years and have expanded to GP2 Asia, where they are the only Asian team granted a licence to race in the series and have announced plans to expand their race engineering services to GP2 Europe by 2011.
The team's long-term plan is take a step-by-step approach to achieve their ultimate goal. The first step is to provide the necessary training to develop a National Malaysian Motorsport Technical centre and establish a place of engineering excellence to train Malaysian engineers and technical staff ready to design and produce formula cars for export and hopefully to design a Malaysian F1 car by 2016.
Team boss Firhat Mokhzani said the plan, which has been fuelled by the team's successes since 1996, is within grasp as Asia's most successful motorsports team have been quietly setting up the blueprints which will see them race in Europe in two years time.
"Meritus are the only Asian team to be given an entry licence to race in the GP2 Asia Series and this is partly because of our engineering success and our 32 Asian motorsport titles and dominating Formula BMW and Formula V6 series for the last six years. These are the Asian stepping stones to racing in the pinnacle of motorsports, Formula One," explained Firhat.
"Malaysia and Asian motorsport offer a very cost effective ladder for drivers to step up from karting and provide all the career steps for ambitious drivers focusing on F1. The big difference for Asian families following a lucrative sporting career for their child is that these Asian steps are at least 50% cheaper than similar European ladders.
"Meritus are planning to expand our current GP2 Asian operations to include GP2 Europe by 2011. Our GP2 teams will basically be the Malaysian National F1 Development team as well as training our Malaysian race engineers.
"The first goal is to develop our Malaysian Motorsport engineering technology and to develop a sustainable Malaysian motorsport industry for the export of formula cars to the multi billion dollar motorsport markets in Europe and North America. This will provide a sustainable profit generating industry which will absorb the development costs to structure and develop an engineering design team.
"We hope to be ready to build our own F1 car with Malaysian engineers to achieve that goal by 2016."
With Alex Yoong as lead driver, this team is destined for reject greatness...if it ever gets off the ground, which I highly doubt. But a great prospect nonetheless.