F1 urged to back tsunami effort

Formula 1 has been called upon to throw its weight behind a major charity drive to help raise funds for the tsunami disaster when it visits South East Asia in March. The boss of the Malaysian Grand Prix has revealed to autosport.com that he has written to the sport's chiefs pleading for them to give something back at this year's event

F1 urged to back tsunami effort

Although Michael Schumacher has seized the initiative himself in donating more than £5 million to the charity efforts, there has been some criticism about the rest of F1's response to the tragic events - a matter that Sepang chairman Dato Mokhzani Mahathir believes can be overcome if they help back his plans.

Malaysia itself was hit by the tsunami, although not to the extent of other countries nearby, and Mahathir has written personally to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and all the teams and drivers in a bid to garner their support for raising funds for the disaster.

"Some people have said that having such a high profile event in Malaysia is insensitive to the troubles of the region, but I am trying to put it in a different way," he told autosport.com at Autosport International. "I am trying to use F1 and some of the publicity that is generated by the event in Malaysia to be put to good use.

"For instance, I have a Grand Prix Gala Dinner [on the Thursday], and I have written to all the teams and the drivers to chip in and help the tsunami victims in the region by doing whatever they can. Malaysia is the only country where F1 races that was affected by the tsunami disaster, so please, use us to help the international relief organisations."

Mahathir confirmed that Ferrari and Red Bull Racing had already come forwards to help supply items for a charity auction that will take place at the gala dinner - and he also paid tribute to Michael Schumacher's personal donation.

"It was amazing, and that put a very, very human touch to F1," he added. "Like it or not, people don't have access to the drivers or the stars so that really brought Michael into everyone's hearts, not just as a driver but as a human being."

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