What would you do if you were Team Principle of an F1 team and happened to be CEO of a major airline? It’s just got to be done hasn’t it…

Dato’ Sri Tony Fernandes, 46, who bought AirAsia in 2001 for around 20p (1 ringgit) has turned the airline from a loss making 2 aircraft outfit into a world industry player and leading budget airline not only in Asia but now worldwide. Fernandes’ other ventures are part of the Tune Group and include Tune Hotels, a budget no frills hotel chain throughout the region and also Lotus Racing, this years hottest new F1 team. Tony, a keen promoter of sport in Malaysia has also been linked with investment in West Ham United and more recently Norwich City.

From a standing start less than 12 months ago the team, led by experienced Technical Director Mike Gascoyne are leading the pack of new teams and are nipping on the heels of some of the more experienced teams on the grid. They hope to be firmly mid table next year, quiet an achievement for such a young outfit in a fiercely competitive sport at the very pinnacle of motor racing.

The Lotus Racing liveried Airbus A320-216 of AirAsia was captured on film leaving Kuala Lumpur International today, perhaps ferrying Tony to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix and hopefully we’ll see more of the aircraft carrying out transport and PR duties throughout the rest of the season.

We’re very grateful to photographer Sri Ramani Kugathasan for his kind permission to use his image, please visit the original here.

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