Published on May 2nd, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Akash Neil Nandy, Do you know him? The driver? The champion?
Most of you reading this would have never heard of this young man. For the few who have, you will immediate remember him as a racing driver and this will probably be the extent of your knowledge of him.
Well let me pour some information into the cup of Malaysian motor sports for you to better understand who this determined and talented young man is.
His racing resume can stand head to head with most of the famous Malaysian drivers like Fairuz Fauzy, Alex Yoong and Jazeman Jaafar. He has an impressive race ranking in Malaysia, being in the top six of a few segments like, Malaysian drivers with the biggest number of wins and also Malaysian drivers with the highest race win percentage where he is in 5th position for both, this 19-year old is driven by passion and desire to be No.1.
Recently he put his name on the prestigious 60th Macau Grand Prix ‘billboard’ when took the pole position, set the fastest lap time and won the Formula Masters race. There is more to learn and be amazed about this young man’s racing career which at just 19 years of age is already very impressive, however there is a big ‘BUT’. The ‘BUT’ being sponsorship.
Yes. The ever consuming problem with all talented and impressive race drivers. The money that goes into motorsports is high and the financial rewards with every win is small, probably enough to buy the race team a good dinner and a flight ticket home. It is not just a Malaysian problem……globally only the very best and determined get noticed by the big budget teams and have a chance to show their talent and reach the F1 arena.
A great example is Lewis Hamilton. From humble beginnings and a very very very determined father he made his way to the top of the F1 game. Sponsors want eyeballs and wheel to wheel track racing gets the best eyeballs but you have to be in the top 5 at least, to have sponsors pour money at you. With the European drivers like Lewis, the corporate giants are coming from Europe and they can take the central/HQ branding money to sponsor these drivers. In Asia it is a different game. Most local corporations do not have global footprint and so the money in International motorsports does not interest them as the foreign eyeballs have no idea what these companies sell and have for them. For example, MRCB or Westports are very successful but do not need international eyeballs.
So let’s look at some possible Malaysian sponsors for Akash to get sponsorship. What about AXIATA Group or AirAsia. They have a regional reach……and regional businesses. What about Felda Global or Shangri-La Hotels. They are both regional and growing. We could also suggest Mamee and Muhibbah Engineering.
But then we are not having the best of economic times in Malaysia right now and these companies are probably under pressure with our local currency issues.
With his recent win in Macau, we suggest that team Akash look elsewhere for his racing sponsorship. Look at the big Chinese companies that are playing for the global eyeball. Telecommunication equipment supplier Huawei wants a global footprint, Alibaba wants its e-commerce business to grow outside of China, Baidu, with its Nokia partnership and its increasing stake in Uber need to open their business to a new segment of eyeballs. Let’s not forget Tencent who owns the ever growing WeChat social messaging app.
Sponsorship has to come from China and it has to be soon before Malaysians motorsports slows down to a grinding halt and world class talent like 19-year old Akash misses the boat to the Formula 1 arena.