Among the important figures present at the event, the long-time prime minister of Malaysia was joined by Lotus Racing Team Principal Tony Fernandes, Deputy Team Principals Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin and Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne.
Mahathir was given a tour of the Norfolk factory yesterday, while also being given some insight on how exactly a Formula One team works (including the development department and the way drivers conduct their racing programmes). Additionally, according to a press release by Lotus F1, the former Malaysian PM was seated in the Lotus Cosworth T127, the car to be used by the team through the 2010 season.
“It is very exciting for us and the team that Tun Dr. Mahathir has been able to come to Norfolk to officially open our factory. He is the Father of motor racing in Malaysia, the visionary behind the birth of the Sepang International Circuit and the Malaysian Grand Prix and has given us all the inspiration to reach for the skies and achieve our dreams – as such it is a tremendous honor for us to welcome him here and we are extremely proud he has opened our factory today,” said Tony Fernandes, according to a Lotus statement.
Tun Dr. Mahathir was the driving force behind the establishment of the Malaysian Grand Prix back in 1999, at the Sepang International Circuit. During his Premiership, Mahathir was one of the people who pushed for the growth of motorsport in his country.