And there goes the Formula One season. Hamilton sucked. The FIA was bollocks. Massa nearly died. Schumi nearly made a comeback. Button won. I guess that’s pretty much it.
For all our talent of making “sawsaw” to just about everything, I think motorsports is one area we haven’t really made any efforts in associating ourselves to. Formula One is just the largest motorsport in the whole world. We’ve been fielding athletes in the Olympics, so why aren’t we doing the same for F1? Malaysia is fielding a Formula One team next season and they’re practically in the same time zone as us.
Well, it’s easy to tell why we can’t. It’s not like we don’t like Formula 1 here. It’s a big hobby for people to watch it in the same way they might play games or watch football. It’s just that there are clearly other factors that prevent it from happening.
One easy reason is that we really don’t have an automaking industry to speak of. Sure we make a hell of a lot of jeepneys and I know many people abroad envy that we have areas like Banawe and Evangelista to cater to tuners. But a homegrown automaker that invests on world-class research and development, production, and sales and marketing? None that I can think of. (Anyone knows if FMC is back on its feet or if A-Toys has finally got a crack at it?)
One of the biggest motivations for automakers to field teams is to make it a proving ground for car technology. Some would settle for the publicity the sport brings to the brand. Even with those perks, big names like Honda and BMW have quit F1. Toyota has been mulling quitting too. And these are established automakers that surely have enjoyed such perks. Unless we can find ways to slap on aerodynamics and KERS on owner-type jeeps to sell more of them…
So what about Malaysia? Well, even though Malaysia is part of the ASEAN (of which we are also part), the country is home to Proton which happens to own British sports car maker Lotus. Lotus currently makes few of the best-handling cars in the world (the Elise, Exige and Evora). Oh and they have Petronas too.
It requires a lot of resources to field an F1 team and Malaysia’s got the balls, the funds, the technical know-how, and the driving talent to support Lotus’ participation. Too bad, as Pinoys, we sure have bigger balls than any other nation and I’m sure we can find talent out there (given the number of un-Christian motorists out there), but not too much on the other stuff.
Given our economic outlook, spending at least $65 million on developing speedy cars for just one year is just plain indecent. And there’s other expenses like for travel, publicity, and the team. Mind you that the better F1 drivers get nearly as much as Manny Pacquiao’s net worth (which took him years to build) in just a year.
And the list can go on.
Sure we’ve got fellow Pinoys who are participating in other forms of motorsport in the region but nothing that comes close to something big as F1. And I’m positive we haven’t even participated in WRC, GT races, or even Le Mans.
I just hope to see a Filipino in F1 in my lifetime.