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"If we want to export Proton we need to establish our brand name so that it is accepted globally," Najib said. "We are determined to do our best to make our mark in this arena."
The investors in the venture are Proton, budget airline AirAsia and Naza Motors, a local auto group.
Najib said the creation of the team is a "natural progression" since Malaysia has hosted a leg of the F1 race since 1999 and national oil company Petronas has been a sponsor of BMW Sauber team for the last four years.
Lotus competed in F1 from 1958-94, winning 79 Grand Prix races and seven constructors' titles. Lotus had world champion drivers in Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt and Emerson Fittipaldi.
FIA noted that BMW has announced it is pulling out of the sport in 2010, leaving uncertainties over the future ownership of the team.
"Nevertheless, the FIA considers that BMW Sauber's application is of high quality and would constitute a competitive participant in the championship," FIA said. "As such, it has awarded BMW Sauber the '14th place' in the championship meaning that it will be entitled to fill any vacancy that arises on the 2010 grid."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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