Not until the chosen one is ready to enter the big league and compete with the big boys of F1, according to Lotus F1 Team Principal, Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes.So for now, the search is on for a driver with the experience; the temperament and the proven skills to carry the Malaysian flag next season.And probably that's why Fernandes is here for the Singapore F1 Grand Prix to seek out and maybe finalise a deal to bring a proven F1 name on board.
People like Kimi Raikonen of the Ferrari team and former world champion Fernando Alonso of the Renault Team, last year's Singapore GP winner, are said to be the team's target.Speaking on the sidelines of the Singapore GP at the Marina Circuit here today, Fernandes said that the team is in F1 not to finish last."We want to prove that we can compete with the rest of the newcomers in F1 from the very start and by the middle of the season, we hope to be positioned right in the middle of the pack.
But three to five years down the road, hopefully we can be among the best."Of course there is no gurantee in F1 but we dare to dream and that's very important. Naturally we want to have a Malaysian driver behind the wheels but until he is ready we are not going to throw him into the deep end. Like what happened to Alex Yoong," said Fernandes.
Yoong was the first Malaysian in F1 with Team Minardi in the late nineties but he never really made an impact.But there is talk that Fairuz Fauzy, who drives in GP 2 and Jazeman Jaafar, the Formula BMW Asia champion are being considered for the second driver's spot.Fernandes added that the Lotus F1 Team car with it's Cosworth engine is now being developed at it's base in Norfolk, United Kingdom and should be ready to roll by the second week of February and would be brought back to the Sepang circuit for testing.-- BERNAMA