Malaysian team aims for F1 by 2016 Malaysia's Meritus Racing has announced that it is targeting a Formula One race debut in seven years' time. The GP2 Asia squad is credited for having run of a number of future F1 drivers as it looks to make its first appearance on the grid no later than the 2016 season.
The plan to climb up the motorsport ladder to F1 would last for over half a decade for what is the only Asian team in the GP2 Asia series; the first task involves progressing to the main, European GP2 championship by 2011.
"Meritus are the only Asian team to be given an entry license to race in the GP2 Asia Series," explained team owner Firhat Mokhzani, who set up the outfit in 1996. "This is partly because of our engineering success, 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 motorsport, Formula One.
"We would be honored one day to race as the national team in F1 and we hope to be ready to build our own F1 car, with Malaysian engineers, to achieve that goal by 2016. The team have already helped drivers who have gone on to race in Formula One; F1 pilots such as Narain Karthikeyan, Takuma Sato and Ricardo Rosset were all Meritus graduates - in fact, ex-McLaren driver David Coulthard first tested in a car with slicks and wings with Meritus in 1990.
"Our 2003 Formula BMW champion, Hopin Tung, tested a Williams F1 car and our own super star Jazeman Jaafar was invited by Sir Frank Williams to try the team's F1 simulator two years ago."
Mokhzani added that the team's first goal is to win the GP2 Asia title next year before attempting to move into Europe.
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