Friday, September 18, 2009


Two days after aviation entrepreneur Tony Fernandes was announced as the team principal, he announced plans to step down as head of the new Lotus Formula One team once the 2010 season has started.

'The team principal (position) is not something that is going to be permanent,' he told Reuters on Thursday. 'I am going to get it (the team) to a stage and then someone can do it full time, properly.'

'My job is AirAsia and I just want to make sure that we (Lotus) have the right direction, the right imaging and the right future, the right strategic plan and marketing,' he added.

'I think up to about Melbourne, maybe,' he said when asked about the time frame. 'Maybe I'll enjoy being the team principal for a couple of races and I think then we'd move it on to someone else.'

Mr Fernandes, the country's 15th richest man according to Forbes Malaysia's 2009 rich list, runs Asia's largest budget airline by fleet size.

He was announced as the boss of Formula One's newest team on Tuesday when Lotus F1 was granted the 13th slot.

The new team, to be based ultimately at Malaysia's Sepang circuit, will be a partnership between the Malaysian government and a consortium of local entrepreneurs.

Mr Fernandes said replacements were already being considered and his successor would likely not be a Malaysian.

'I would say probably we would buy in experience,' he added.

'I think it would be good that the team principal is Malaysian but it might be a tall order to be a team principal straight away.'