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THE STEERING COLUMN: Long-term commitment

THE STEERING COLUMN: Long-term commitment

Formula One is a world where winning can be measured in fractions of a second - but the foundations of success are built patiently, through years of hard work and partnership.

'There is a renewed vitality and a new level of energy in the sport this year'

Since 2010, Mercedes-Benz and PETRONAS have built one of the most successful technical and branding partnerships in Formula One history. And the reinvigorated sporting spectacle of 2017, with Mercedes and Ferrari fighting tooth and nail for championship supremacy, has energised the partnership like no other season so far.

"There is a renewed vitality and a new level of energy in the sport this year," commented PETRONAS President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin when he visited last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix.

"With new rules and regulations for this year, and many new things for the fans, the sport is increasing in terms of audience and that's great. And for all of us at PETRONAS, we know that the technical contribution will be even more important this year because of the stiff competition from our rivals."

Indeed, with mere thousandths of a second enough to determine grid positions during the season's opening nine races, performance unlocked by the technical collaboration between Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport and PETRONAS has been decisive.

'Since 2010, we have produced more than 100 for lubricants and 200 for fuel.'

"As an oil and gas company, we are not new to very sophisticated technology," continued Datuk Wan Zul. "For the last few years, we have been developing candidate fuels and lubricants for testing by the team. Since 2010, we have produced more than 100 for lubricants and 200 for fuel."

Branding and technology development are perhaps the most obvious fruits of the partnership - but far from the only ones.

"The secondment of our interns and our staff to the team builds a close working collaboration that is very important," explained Datuk Wan Zul. "But it's also about the culture of building a high-performance team - and we intend to replicate some of this in PETRONAS itself."

Of course, 2017 will also see Formula One visiting Sepang International Circuit for the final Malaysian Grand Prix.

Although the race is dropping off the calendar after this season, Datuk Wan Zul's visit to Spielberg saw him let the world in on a little secret we have shared for several months: a multi-year extension of the title partnership signed late last year which will cement more than a decade of partnership between Mercedes and PETRONAS.

World-class technology and world-class teamwork in perfect harmony

"We fully intend to end on a high in Sepang - and to make this a race for everybody to remember," he concluded.

"Our involvement in motorsports actually began in 1995, which is a few years before the first race in Sepang in 1999. And we intend to stay the course. The partnership has given us very positive results for many years and I am pleased to announce the extension of the sponsorship contract with the team."

The message could not be clearer: although this may be our sport's final visit to Sepang for the foreseeable future, PETRONAS is committed to Formula One and to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport for the long term.

That's precisely the kind of commitment that delivers the precious thousandths of a second that make the difference between success and failure in our sport.

World-class technology and world-class teamwork in perfect harmony.

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