May 4 (GMM/ Tony Fernandes has admitted he would have liked corporate Malaysia to have backed his formula one team.

The Malaysian entrepreneur founded a UK based start-up team in 2010, calling it Team Lotus before a bitter spat developed with the Lotus name’s owner Proton.

“While I was building a formula one team, I was being sued by my own countrymen,” he told The Star newspaper.

“We’re the only true formula one team developed in Malaysia.”

Now called Caterham, the team’s only Malaysian sponsorship is from AirAsia — Fernandes’ own low-cost airline.

“Never mind that we were not sponsored (by Malaysia), that’s a company’s prerogative,” he said. “But, we were sued.”

Some have accused Caterham of not having progressed much since 2010, but Fernandes strongly disagrees.

“Two years ago we had nothing. We’re now 1.5 seconds away from Red Bull who are the world champions. We’re closing the gap.

“You can’t build Rome in a day,” he insisted.