Dr. Mahathir goes to Hinwil

THE Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is in Europe at the moment and on Monday visited the headquarters of the Sauber Petronas Formula 1 team at Hinwil in Switzerland. The team has enjoyed considerable funding in recent years from the Malaysian national oil company Petronas and has worked closely with the national car company Proton on the development of engines for road cars.

The original plan was for Petronas to fund the design and construction of a Formula 1 engine but it was later decided that it was wiser to use rebadged Ferrari V10 engines. The relationship between Sauber and Petronas is now in its eighth year and in that time the global recognition of Petronas as a brand has increased dramatically and the Malaysian government has encouraged other organizations such as Magnum and KL to become involved in F1 sponsorship with the Minardi team.

Dr. Mahathir is keen for the motor racing to become an important sector in the Malaysian economy with the growth of a nationally-based racing industry for the Asian region. That process is beginning but there is still a long way to go before it is truly established.

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