OCTOBER 28, 2016
Malaysia should back drivers, not race
Money currently put into hosting an annual grand prix could instead support Malaysian drivers pushing to break into F1.
That is the claim of Malaysian sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who earlier caused a stir by suggesting the government should no longer pay for a race each year at Sepang.
He told the local Bernama news agency that a better use of Malaysian money would be to help local talents like Jazeman Jaafar, Nabil Jeffri and Akash Nandy, who race in the lower categories GP2 and GP3.
"They have the potential, but no one is willing to sponsor them, when at the same time the government spends a large amount sponsoring a race which no longer brings returns, both sporting-wise or economically," he said.
Jamaluddin argues that a better route for Malaysia would be to start with a top driver, which would then build up local support and a F1 culture.
"We've had an F1 driver (Alex Yoong) but it's not a podium driver," he said.
"And if we don't have a driver, then there aren't many opportunities for mechanics and our officers to join a formula one team," he added.