Mahathir quits and F1 shudders

MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resigned unexpectedly on Saturday but within an hour the 76-year-old withdrew his resignation. The extraordinary train of events saw Mahathir leaving the rostrum at the United Malays National Organisation annual conference in tears. Not long afterwards Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi went back in front of the TV cameras to announce that Mahathir had changed his mind. The announcement was greeted with cheering from the shocked audience.

The news sent shock waves through the F1 paddock as Mahathir is a key player in F1 as he has been behind the country's drive into Grand Prix racing and Sauber and Minardi were particularly worried by the events.

Although Mahathir is back in control the strange events have led to questions about his long term future. Mahathir is due to retire at the end of 2004 but he may now go earlier. It is hoped that without Mahathir the F1 involvement will continue...

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