LKYSUNZ, Asian Formula 1 motor racing team has moved a step closer to fruition, with $1bn in funding having been secured.
LKYSUNZ is looking to land a position on the F1 starting grid in 2026, with as much as $600m being set aside as an entry fee payable to the International Automobile Federation (FIA).
Under the current Concorde Agreement, prospective F1 entrants must pay $200m as their entry fee but this figure is expected to be revised heavily upwards for the re-negotiated Concorde Agreement that will come into effect from the start of 2026.
The FIA officially launched an application process to identify potential new teams for F1 as early as 2025 in January.
LKYSUNZ submitted its proposal in May, and has now underlined the seriousness of its bid by securing the $1bn funding from Legends Advocates Sports Group, a Florida-based sports fund.
Among the advisors to the LKYSUNZ project is Asia sports marketing expert Marcus Luer, the founder of the Total Sports Asia agency.
Aside from the hefty entry fee, LKYSUNZ said the funding will be used to develop “cutting-edge facilities”, as well as build the team through its infancy and its initial car development. The team has pledged to carry out “grassroots and youth programmes” to grow the sport in younger and more diverse demographics and said it has received support from governments, automobile clubs and institutions in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Nigeria and Kenya.
Benjamin Durand, chief executive of LKYSUNZ, said in a statement: “With the news of our additional funding, we are delighted to confirm that LKYSUNZ is prepared to meet the teams’ request and pay a $600m anti-dilution payment despite this current cycle of the financial regulations stating $200m. We look forward to continuing our positive discussions with the FIA and are thrilled by our partners’ financial backing.
“Our ambition has always been to ensure that the sport remains competitive whilst bringing true diversity into the paddock, which is vital for the long-term growth for all in Formula 1. We know commercially the opportunity to expand the sport into Asia and Africa is 100 per cent the right decision, it’s viable and most importantly it’s what prospective and current motorsport fans around the world are demanding. The significant financial commitment from our partners is an endorsement, and we are confident that our entry can propel the interest in the sport to reach new heights.”